“Dr. Death” Dies at 83

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

The infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian, 83, known for his fierce advocacy of assisted suicide, died early this morning in a Michigan hospital from a pulmonary thrombosis.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Kevorkian was being treated at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan for kidney and heart problems when he suffered the thrombosis after a blood clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart.

Alongside Kevorkian at the time of his death was his attorney, Mayer Morganroth, and his neice, Ava Janus.

“It was peaceful, he didn’t feel a thing,” Morganroth said.

No artificial attempts were made to keep him alive and there are no plans for a memorial.

Long-time friend Neal Nicol told the Press that Kevorkian had recently been diagnosed with liver cancer, which may have been caused by hepatitis C. He was hospitalized twice in May because of kidney problems and a fall, and suffered from many ailments including liver and heart disorders.

“They tried all kinds of things,” Nicol said of the doctors at Beaumont, but said the cancer “just shut him down.” Doctors were hoping they could strengthen Kevorkian in order to enable him to undergo radiation treatment for the cancer but “his strength never got to that point.”

Kevorkian, who openly admitted to being present at nearly 130 suicides, began his career assisting the dying in the 1990’s when he invented his famous “death machine,” a device that allowed a user to self-inject an anesthetic and then a lethal dose of potassium chloride. He called the machine a thanatron, after Thanatos, the figure of death in Greek mythology.

His initial “assisted suicides” led to a 1993 Michigan law that specifically prohibited him from continuing the practice, a law he openly defied until 1999 when he was convicted of second-degree  murder in the death of Thomas Youk, 52, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease. Kevorkian videotaped himself injecting Youk and had the film broadcast on “60 Minutes.”

Sentenced to 10 to 25 years for the crime, he was released in 2005 and discharged from parole in 2009.

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The photo above is of Kevorkian with his “death machine”

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