Dr Jack Kervorkian dead at 83

Famed assisted suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian died at a Michigan hospital early Friday. He was 83 years old.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the central figure in the tumultuous national drama surrounding assisted suicide, died Friday in Royal Oak, Mich., his lawyer told the Associated Press.

He was 83 and had been hospitalized with pneumonia and a recurring kidney condition.

Dr. Kevorkian, a medical pathologist who challenged social taboos about disease and dying, defied prosecutors and the courts to help terminally ill patients end their lives at times of their own choosing.

He spent eight years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of the last of the more than 100 patients whose suicides he assisted starting in 1990. His stubborn and often intemperate advocacy for the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die is widely credited with sparking a boom in hospice care in the United States, and with making physicians more sympathetic to their pain and more willing to prescribe medication to relieve it.