Tony Nicklinson, a British man paralyzed from a stroke and suffering from locked-in syndrome, died Wednesday. Nicklinson gained notoriety for challenging a British law concerning assisted suicide in well publicized “right to die” case. Nicklinson died six days after losing the case, in which a panel of High Court judges upheld the law against assisted suicide.
The Guardian reports that Nicklinson, who had been paralyzed since 2005, had been refusing food since the verdict, but contracted pneumonia and his health quickly deteriorated. He died at 10 a.m. Wednesday with his wife, daughters and sister present. Doctors confirmed the death was of natural causes and that they were not involved.
Nicklinson, who could communicate only by blinking, was disappointed when the court ruled he did not have the right to end his life.
“I thought that if the court saw me as I am, utterly miserable with my life, powerless to do anything about it because of my disability, then the judges would accept my reasoning that I do not want to carry on and should be able to have a dignified death,”Nicklinson said in a statement his lawyers released
ABC News reported that the locked-in suffering Nicklinson knew his time was nearly up before he died, and had one last message for the world.
“Before he died, he asked us to tweet: ‘Goodbye world, the time has come, I had some fun.’ Thank you for your support over the years. We would appreciate some privacy at this difficult time. Love, Jane, Lauren and Beth,” his family wrote on Twitter.
Locked-in syndrome is a condition of paralysis that occurs when a person is unable to move or communicate but is completely awake and aware, giving the sense of being “locked in” to their body.