- (Photo: Twitter/Tony Nicklinson)
Tony Nicklinson fought until the very end for his right to die with the help of a doctor. He was unsuccessful, but his story captivated the world and, on Wednesday, Nicklinson died of natural causes at his home.
He suffered from locked-in syndrome, which allowed him full mental capabilities but kept him trapped inside his own body. Nicklinson suffered a stroke in 2005 and was left unable to speak or move below his neck. He communicated through blinking his eyes and used that opportunity to speak out for his right to assisted suicide.
Nicklinson took his case to Britain's High Court and asked that any doctors who help their patients die not be charged with murder. The court deliberated but later ruled against Nicklinson's petition.
"I am saddened that the law wants to condemn me to a life of increasing indignity and misery," Nicklinson said in a statement after the ruling.
Nicklinson had been refusing to eat since last week and caught pneumonia over the weekend. That's what finally took his life on Wednesday, and his family announced that before his death, Nicklinson had asked them to tweet one final message: "Goodbye world the time has come, I had some fun."
Authorities announced that they would not be investigating Nicklinson's death since his death certificate was signed by a doctor. Many familiar with Nicklinson's story now hope that he is at peace, and that his family will find some comfort after his death.
"Well, his suffering is over now. Just like he wanted. Prayers for his family," Huffington Post reader Barbara0817 posted.
"RIP Tony! May you finally be at peace. Shine bright from above. God bless your family," added Robin Bush.
Nicklinson's case has renewed the debate about euthanasia, with some in favor of assisted suicide, and others adamantly opposed. It's a tricky subject for states and countries to deal with and is often countered by doctors' Hippocratic oath: "First, do no harm."
Currently, euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, as well as Washington, Oregon and Montana.