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. Dr Kevorkians ghost

    BOOOOOOOO!!!!! I'm a scary ghost! and i am stuck haunting the same bathroom as moaning myrtle!

    June 3, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. jwdd

    So...he could not off himself....coward...he assistedothers but wimped out for himself....but glad when he went ..it was peaceful and painless....no one should suffer death

    June 3, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      Maybe he didn't "off himself" because he wasn't suffering.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ms Atheist

      He could hardly be called a coward in light of his bravery standing firm for what he knew would relieve suffering and pain. And as stated above, no, he didn't have a long term, debilitating illness. He died quickly and easily.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      In his case there was no need for asisted suicide. He didn't say it should be manditory for everyone. He might have made an exception for you, though.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Myron

      Maybe it was the music he chose that assisted him

      June 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Suzanne

    Dr. Kevorkian was an unbelievable strong man who stood up for what he believed and fought for the rights of human suffering for those who could not fight for themselves. He is a man to look up and admire for he gave his life to teach the world to stand up against the bullies and beliefs of your own no matter how alone you appear to be. Believe that you alone can make a change and spread knowledge as he, for when you leave this earth you will have made a positive impact on life and society as Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      If her would have only bought GLER...GLER GLER GLER...today is the day to buy.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      Dr. Kevorkian was a man of courage, honety, and integrety/ Two qualities in very short supply in the United States Post 9/11. Because of his efforts to abide by his interpretation of his oath as a physitian by giving humans the same courtesy with dignity as is given to dogs and horses, there are assisted suicide laws in most states. All sates have assisted suicide, or assisted homicide, but we do it as a half-measure, and we do it with hiprocacy. They call it the "Morphme Drip" that little constant drip of Morpheme given top dying patients to alleviate pain which also supresses lung and heart function, thus giving the dying a little bit of a push out of this world. Dr. Kevorkian believed that when the patient is in unbearable pain, that he ought to be given the choice of a big "push" or a little push. A few days or weeks means little when you are hooked up to tubes, have said your good buys and are ready to begin your juorney into Samsara, or to meet Jesus, or to get on to that room with forty beds, each loaded with seven women, or simply to cease to exist at all. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Anonymous Supporter

    What a loss. I was sincerely hoping that his campaigning would have encouraged more people to see the value of dying with dignity. I hope that when my time comes, I will have that choice- sometimes choosing our death is the only choice of value left.

    After seeing a beloved family member suffer in hospital, and listening to her beg to be killed, I know how ugly a natural death can be. I still kick myself for not "tripping" over a cord in that room and ending her suffering. She died three days later, but those last three days were Hell for her and my family.

    RIP, Dr. Kevorkian. I can only hope your departure was as much as mercy as you have given so many others.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • null13

      I couldn't agree more. People should be able to choose their own death. It is their life. It is always surprising how it is ok for a state to condemn people to death, but despise someone who just offers a peaceful hand to help guide someone from their suffering of their own choice. He truly was a great guy.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Justin Observation

    Was it a self inflicted blood clot?

    June 3, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. null13

    Rest in piece Dr. Kevorkian. He gave to people who could fight no more either emotionally or physically a peaceful way out. I commend that. To those who question his ethics.....who has more poor judgement and ethics, a doctor who ends suffering in a human, or the people who end the life of a dog or cat, a loving pet just because it is homeless or unwanted, left behind by us, the people who should love them. One has a truly good reasoning and the other is selfish, think about it.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • null13

      *peace* sorry about that, just literally woke up and read this so I had to comment, should have proof read that.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Robert Posey

    One of my true Heroes died today. He is responsible for bringing at least some compassion back to end of life care. Sleep well noble hero, you have earned your rest.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dr. Bombay

    May those who prosecuted and persecuted this man suffer debilitating terminal illnesses and be made to suffer the pain or years and years ...

    June 3, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • grandpaof3

      Second that!

      June 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Drod

    Dear CNN, maybe you can try to be consistent with his age?

    June 3, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. FrauSchmitd

    I praise your commitment to this issue. We have extended life and by the same token, have extended unnecessary suffering in some cases.

    Thank you Dr Kevorkian for bringing this issue out in the open. RIP Doctor !

    June 3, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kathy

    A good man, who stood up for his beliefs and helped countless people to die with with the dignity they deserved. I'm glad to hear that in the end, he, himself, had a peaceful death. RIP Jack.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lhd

    He will b missed, may he rest in God's hand .

    June 3, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. mahatma Gandhi

    Jack – you stood for what you believed in against Christian hipocrates who have been killing millions. You will be missed.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. G B

    I have a lot of respect and admiration for Dr. Kevorkian. He was a very compassionate doctor who respected his patients and their right to die with dignity. The ones that fought him and still continue fighting are the religious fanatics that continue to follow instructions from a book written by men centuries ago. The hospitals and certain members of the medical profession that make medicine a business and not a compassionate art of healing as it was meant to be also fought him because when you let a patient with a chronic, uncurable disease die as a result of euthanasia it's one patient less that these unscrupulous commercial doctors and hospitals can make money off of. The longer patients linger in the hospitals, having useless paliative treatments, the more the insurance companies pay for their treatment and the more money the hospitals and doctors make. Once the patient runs out of insurance they will no longer treat them but they milk the system for as long as they can invoking compassion. Where is their compassion when the insurance runs out ? Hypocrisy and greed. Dr. Kvorkian cared about his patients and was a compassionate doctor.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ed

    Your were ahead of your time, just the rest of the word did not know it. Reset in peace doctor

    June 3, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
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