Tony Nicklinson, the “locked-in” syndrome sufferer who challenged Britain’s laws on the right to die has passed away, his lawyers said.Tony Nicklinson’s death comes just days after he lost his High Court battle for an assisted suicide warning that he had been condemned to a life he said was worse than death.
It emerged that Mr Nicklinson had been refusing food for up to seven days after learning the outcome of his appeal on Tuesday of last week.
He suffered pneumonia and deteriorated rapidly. In 2004 Mr Nicklinson issued an advanced directive refusing any life sustaining treatment should he fall ill.
When he died, around 10am this morning, his wife, daughters Lauren and Beth and his sister Ginny were by his side.
His solicitor Saimo Chahal said that Mr Nicklinson’s wife, Jane, had told her that “the fight seemed to go out of him” once he learnt of the ruling.
He knew in advance that he was going to die and asked his family to post a message on his Twitter account after he had gone reading simply: “Goodbye world, the time has come, I had some fun.”
His wife said Mr Nicklinson was “heartbroken” by the High Court ruling.
Wiltshire Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.
Twitter: TonyNicklinson – You may already know, my Dad died peacefully this morning of natural causes. he was 58.
Twitter: TonyNicklinson – before he died, he asked us to tweet: ‘Goodbye world the time has come, I had some fun’
Twitter: TonyNicklinson – Thank you for your support over the years. We would appreciate some privacy at this difficult time. Love, Jane, Lauren and Beth
Last Thursday three High Court judges ruled that they did not have the power to grant Mr Nicklinson’s request for a doctor to be given effective immunity from prosecution for murder by giving him a lethal dose of painkillers.
Lord justice Toulson, ruled that it was not the place of the courts to “usurp the function of Parliament” by effectively changing the law
Mr Nicklinson responded that MPs are “cowards” and would never change the law.
He broke down in tears on live television as the judgment was given announcing that he was “devastated”.
In a statement Ms Chamal said: “I would like to say what an extraordinary man Tony was.”
“He was gutsy, determined and a fighter to the end. It has been an absolute privilege for me and his barrister to have been his legal team. I only wish the outcome of the case could have been different during Tony’s lifetime.
“I know that the right to die with dignity issues that Tony championed will not be forgotten due to the light that Tony shone on them and that this important debate will continue due to Tony.”
“I know that Tony would want me to say thank you to all his supporters who gave him great comfort and strength.”
She added the appeal Mr Nicklinson brought against the High Court ruling will come to an end unless someone comes forward in similar circumstances to pursue the action.
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