Jack Kevorkian, assisted suicide advocate dead at 83

By: AP
By: AP

DETROIT -- He was known as "Dr. Death" -- as he became a symbol of the right-to-die movement by helping end the lives of dozens of ailing people. And now, Jack Kevorkian himself has died in Michigan after a brief illness. He was 83.

The retired pathologist had likened himself to Martin Luther King and Gandhi -- as he challenged authorities to either stop him or make his actions legal. He ended up going to prison for second-degree murder.

Kevorkian first became known in 1990 when he used his homemade "suicide machine" in his rusted Volkswagen van to inject lethal drugs into an Alzheimer's patient who sought his help in dying. His first four trials, all on assisted suicide charges, resulted in three acquittals and one mistrial.

The murder case against him began in September of 1998, when he videotaped himself injecting a Lou Gehrig's disease patient with lethal drugs, and gave the tape to "60 Minutes." Kevorkian was convicted, and served eight years.

Despite his campaign, few states have made assisted suicide legal. Laws went into effect in Oregon and Washington state -- and a court ruling in Montana effectively legalized it.

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