June 2011 Last updated at 14:17 GMT
Jack Kevorkian: 'Doctor Death' dies in US aged 83
Jack Kevorkian, the man known as "Dr Death", for helping the terminally ill end their lives, has died in the US aged of 83, his lawyer has said.
Mayer Morganroth told the Associated Press news agency Kevorkian died on Friday at Michigan's Beaumont Hospital.
Kevorkian died after a blood clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart, the Detroit Free Press reported.
He was believed to have assisted in 130 suicides and was released from prison in 2007, after serving eight years.
The BBC's Steve Kingstone, in Washington, says no one disputes that Jack Kevorkian prompted debate. Today, doctor-assisted suicide is legal in three American states.
Kevorkian had been in hospital since last month with pneumonia and kidney problems, said Mr Morganroth, who was also a friend of Kevorkian's.
He added that hospital staff played recordings of classical music for Kevorkian before he died.
Kevorkian was originally given a 10-25 year sentence for a second-degree murder conviction in the death of terminally ill Thomas Youk.
But the former pathologist later won an appeal based on his own failing health and served only eight years.
His lawyers had said he suffered from hepatitis C and diabetes.
He had promised in affidavits that he would not assist in a suicide if he was released.
Kevorkian told the BBC in 2007 he had no regrets for conducting assisted suicides.
"I knew what I was doing... I accepted the consequences because I had to do the right thing," he said.
The doctor ran for US Congress as an independent in 2008, receiving just 2.7% of the vote in a suburban Detroit district.
A film about Kevorkian's life, called You Don't Know Jack, was shown for the HBO television network in 2010.
The actor Al Pacino won an Emmy and Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of the pathologist.
Kevorkian had claimed to have assisted in some 130 suicides, mostly in the Detroit area between 1990-98.
Born in 1928, Kevorkian went to medical school, then worked as a pathologist - before retiring to pursue his controversial mission.
Kevorkian first gained international attention in 1990, helping a 54-year-old Alzheimers patient to die.
I have always been in favor of Dr.Kevorkians cause. The government won't even let us die the way we want to. Not a lot of compassion there, huh? Many terminally ill people don't have the physical control to end their live's on their own. He helped them. I hope that, God forbid, if I ever needed a peaceful and painless way out there would be someone around to help me with my passing.
It would be difficult to ask anyone to help because of the trials and tribulations they would have to face afterwards.
I had a friend that had made arrangements to go to Oregon if such a thing happened to her. I guess that is the way to do it for now.
Our frikkin' government wants to control our live's from birth through death. We have the right to end our live's the way we want- when we want. Government needs to keep their noses out of such a personal decision.
Laura, I agree, if someone is terminally ill or incurably and horrifically disabled or whatever, the decision (even though sometimes it may seem a selfish one) is entirely theirs. The only thing that worries me is when and if money and profit are involved.
I had a terminally ill friend and I had promised her that I would take her to Switzerland whenever she wanted me too. I would undoubtably been prosecuted for doing so. Very sadly (or not, whichever way you look at it) she drank herself to death before the need arose.
That is sad Lynn. My friend ended up falling down and breaking her arm. She was already so sick and frail and when the hospital gave her some morphine for the pain it killed her. She was gone within minutes.
So she sort got her wish. It was ok with the government since the hospital did it. She was a hell of a woman and lived a fabulous life but she is sorely missed. Her name was Nancey Truman-Hitchcock and boy did she have some hysterical stories about her life.
Laura...can't send you stars....
On a sober, unemotional note!! Death isn't a huge bogeyman for me. We live we die and then.....whatever you personally believe or not. It seems to me that Americans.....thus dutifully followed by the UK and closely lagging behind, the rest of Europe, has become so totally OBSESSED with "youth" and "immortality" that they have completely lost touch with reality.
You can be sure of two things.....death and taxes.
We have the right to end our live's the way we want- when we want.