Dr. Jack Kevorkian dead at 83
June 3rd, 2011
08:49 AM ET

Dr. Jack Kevorkian dead at 83

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist who put assisted suicide on the world's medical ethics stage, died early Friday, according to a spokesman with Beaumont Hospital. He was 83.

The assisted-suicide advocate had been hospitalized in Michigan for pneumonia and a kidney-related ailment, his attorney Mayer Morganroth has said.

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Kevorkian's favorite musician, was put on the intercom so he could hear the music as he was dying, Morganroth said.

The 83-year-old former pathologist had struggled with kidney problems for years and had checked into a hospital earlier this month for similar problems, his lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, told CNN last month. He checked back into Beaumont Hospital in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak on May 18 after suffering a relapse, Morganroth said.

Kevorkian, dubbed "Dr. Death," made national headlines as a supporter of physician-assisted suicide and "right-to-die" legislation. He was charged with murder numerous times through the 1990s for helping terminally ill patients take their own lives.

He was convicted on second-degree murder charges in 1999 stemming from the death of a patient who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease. He was paroled in 2007.

After his release, he said he would not help end any more lives.

In an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta last year, Kevorkian said he had no regrets about his work.

"No, no. It's your purpose (as a) physician. How can you regret helping a suffering patient?" he said.

In that interview, Kevorkian said that he had three missions in life and that he himself was not ready to die.

One of his missions was to warn mankind of "impending doom" that will come from the culture of overabundance.

"I'm not going to be too popular for that one," he said.

His second mission was to educate people about assisted suicide, and his belief that in states where assisted suicide has been legalized, it is not being done right. He believed that people shouldn't have to be terminal in order to qualify for help in ending their own lives.

Kevorkian's third stated mission was to convince Americans that their rights are being infringed upon by bans on everything from smoking to assisted suicide.

In 2008, at the age of 79, he had a failed run for Congress in Michigan.

Morganroth told the Detroit Free Press it appears Kevorkian suffered a pulmonary thrombosis when a blood clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart. With Kevorkian were his niece Ava Janus and Morganroth.

“It was peaceful," Morganroth told the paper. "He didn’t feel a thing."

Kevorkian's interviews with CNN in past years:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: I've rarely been at a loss for words when conducting an interview

soundoff (1,212 Responses)
  1. Bob

    In the future with the over population and all I can see where it will be legal to end you're life if you have a terminal illness and are suffering. It reminds me of the movie "Soylent Green" where the very old and sick could check in at a community center tp peacefully end their lives. Id rather see technology in medicine, science and space to cure the majority of these illnesses and suffering so it never has to come to this...

    June 3, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      Man use to live over 900 years.Then God saw what a parasite man was.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      Dream on, there's a reason all living things wither and die in their old age, never mind the unnatural, misguided necrophobia "civilized" people manifest nowadays.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • DingoBerry

      Joseph, you are mistaken. Humans have never lived past 120some years old. "god" doesn't exist. But I do agree with you about humans being parasites. Especially the religious ones.

      June 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brigit

    I could face death and dying better knowing that Dr. Kervorkian was in the world. He put the suffering of others ahead of his own self-interest, a true hero and martyr. It's appalling the degree of pain many terminally ill people suffer with no way out. We all should have the choice to die with dignity at the end of our lives. Of course, this needs to be our choice and not the government's.

    He will be missed - badly.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. RMS

    Dr. Kervokian had the courage to stand up for his beliefs. He fought for patient rights so they could have a dignified end of life experience and he empowered them to be able to have some measure of control over their physical suffering. My sympathy to his family and friends.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Barbara G

    A Great Man-RIP.................

    June 3, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. ayo a

    To those of you who oppose Dr Kevorkian and medical suicide, I speak from recent personal experience when I tell you that you can only understand the need for euthanasia, if you have ever been painfully alive. Otherwise, you don't know what you are arguing against. Not all life is worth holding on to. Sometimes death is better than life.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. zombiekiller

    Please REST IN PEACE! do not come back as a zombie and terrorize us all. Just lay there resting, in peace. nothing else. no not resting. no rambling around. no eating brains. just resting. in peace. without the taste for human flesh. forever. amen.


    June 3, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. WeLostAGoodPerson

    We truly lost one of the best human beings on Earth. Too bad the majority of our society is absolutely crazy. R.I.P. Sir.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Supporter

    A pulmonary embolus/thrombosis is a clot that lodges in the lung, not the heart. RIP Jack!

    June 3, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. assisted

    He died of assisted suicide. The blood clot assisted him.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Sixpack

      I think you're an idiot...

      June 3, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Myron

      Or the classical music

      June 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tricia

    After having our 14 yr. old dog 'put down' recently my husband & I talked about how nice it would be to "go" quickly and in a (seemingly) painless way, surrounded by loved ones. Instead, we pay the vet and jail the M.D. for providing essentially the same service. RIP, Dr. K.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Livingston1

    Rest in peace good doctor. You helped many leave this world with compassion and comfort.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joe Sixpack

    The world needs more courageous man like Dr. Kevorkian... RIP

    June 3, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. rick

    RIP Dr. Kevorkian

    June 3, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. Name*Garren Steiner

    RIP Dr Kevorkian.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dash

    This is truly too bad. A real hero to all those who have suffered, and those who have watched their loved ones suffer. As my grandfather was dying from severe lung cancer he asked me every day to kill him. I wish a Dr. like Kevorkian had been there to assist him to go peacefully. The right to die with dignity should not be denied.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Myron

      Can you explain what dying with dignity means? is there one exact meaning or is it relative? Thank you

      June 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
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