Right-to-die campaigner Nicklinson dies following hunger strike
Locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson has died from pneumonia just six days after losing his high court fight for the right to end his own life.
The 58-year-old father of two, who died on Wednesday morning after refusing food for almost a week, compounding the pneumonia he contracted at the weekend, had his family post a final message on the internet which simply read: “Goodbye world, the time has come. I had some fun.”
Mr Nicklinson was paralysed from the neck down following a stroke in 2005. He was only able to communicate using a computer that he operated with his eyelids. His fight at the high court was to ensure that no member of his family or doctor would face prosecution for helping him to end his life.
He was devastated by the decision made at the high court. Although the judge did acknowledge the moving nature of the cases, the decision was ruled on the basis that it is for parliament to reassess and change laws rather than the court itself.
After he learnt of the ruling against both him and another sufferer, known only as Martin, who wanted assistance to be taken to the euthanasia clinic Dignitas after his wife was unable to help him, Mr Nicklinson expressed his upset.
He said: “I am crestfallen, totally devastated and very frightened. I fear for the future and the misery it is bound to bring. I suppose it was wrong of me to invest so much hope and expectation into the judgment but I really believed in the veracity of the arguments.”
He went on to describe his life, which he said was lacking in dignity, and maintained that he should have the right to die with dignity at the time of his choosing.
His wife Jane said of his death: “I have lost the love of my life but he suffers no more.” His daughter Beth added on Twitter: “RIP @TonyNicklinson. Couldn’t have asked for a better dad, so strong. You are now at peace, we will be fine. I love you xxx.”
Police have said that Mr Nicklinson’s doctor confirmed his cause of death and that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the case.