Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Sir Patrick backs assisted death

Sir Patrick Stewart has declared his wish to be allowed an assisted death

Sir Patrick Stewart has declared his wish to be allowed an assisted death.

The Star Trek actor opened up about his decision to become a patron of Dignity in Dying, which campaigns for a change in the law.

He told the Sunday Times: "A lot of it has to do with my age. I had a heart procedure five years ago. I was 70 last year and there is something about achieving threescore years and 10, isn't there?"

He continued: "Then I had had a family member who had been very ill and quite recently I'd heard the story of an illness and a death."

He did not want to go into detail about his female friend's death, but said she was "driven to an extreme situation of ending their life in the most ghastly way".

Sir Patrick, who was diagnosed with coronary heart disease five years ago, said: "I have the strong feeling that, should the time come for me, having had no role in my birth I would like there to be a choice I might make about how I die."

He added that the choice to have an assisted death "should be a right".

The actor is one of several high-profile names who have expressed their support for the movement.

Last week right-to-die campaigners backed the BBC after it was accused of "acting like a cheerleader" for assisted suicide in a documentary presented by author Sir Terry Pratchett.

The programme will show the last moments of a terminally ill man who travelled to an assisted suicide clinic to end his life.

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