Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Detroit pathologist who was dubbed “Dr. Death” after he single-handedly made assisted suicides a major national discussion in the 1990s, has died at age 83.
Kevorkian passed away from pneumonia and a kidney-related ailment in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, his attorney told the media. He had been suffering from kidney problems for years and had repeatedly checked into the hospital as his condition deteriorated.
Kevorkian, earned his infamous nickname “Dr. Death” and international headlines as a supporter of physician-assisted suicide and “right-to-die” legislation. He was charged with murder numerous times throughout the 1990s for helping terminally ill patients take their own lives.
He was finally convicted on second-degree murder charges in 1999 stemming from the death of a patient who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Kevorkian was freed in June 2007 after serving eight years of a 10- to 25-year sentence. His lawyers had said he suffered from hepatitis C, diabetes and other problems, and he had promised in affidavits that he would not assist in a suicide if he was released.
He was immortalized on the small screen when acting icon Al Pacino played Kevorkian in the critically acclaimed HBO film “You Don’t Know Jack” in 2010. Pacino, already legendary from his roles in The Godfather and Scarface, won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his uncanny portrayal.
With Kevorkian during his transition were his niece, Ava Janus, and his lawyer, Mayor Morganroth, when a blot clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart, causing pulmonary thrombosis.
“It was peaceful,” Morganroth said. “He didn’t feel a thing.”