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Kevorkian Dies; Backed Assisted Suicide, Safe Sex

Kevorkian Dies; Backed Assisted Suicide, Safe Sex


Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan physician who became known as "Dr. Death" for his role in helping terminally ill patients commit suicide -- and was also a safe-sex advocate -- has died at age 83.

Kevorkian died early Friday at a Detroit-area hospital. He had suffered from kidney and heart problems, and the immediate cause of death was a blood clot that lodged in his heart, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Kevorkian, who assisted in about 130 suicides in the 1990s, was arrested numerous times and in 1999 was convicted of second-degree murder. He served eight years in prison.

The doctor frequently fought for the repeal of laws against euthanasia. In the mid 1990s he and a gay man with AIDS filed a lawsuit, ultimately unsuccessful, challenging California's ban on the procedure.

He also mocked his image a bit when participating in a public service announcement promoting condom use. "Why perfectly healthy people would want to commit suicide is beyond me," he said in the PSA, according to an Advocate report from 1996.

After his release from prison, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress and became the subject of an HBO film, You Don't Know Jack, which won Al Pacino an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Kevorkian.

Read his full obituary here.

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