Jack Kevorkian, who helped more than 100 terminally people kill themselves and fought for the legal right to assisted suicide, has died at 83. Keith Schneider of the New York Times has penned an obituary worthy of the controversial figure that deserves your attention no matter your position on the issue.

From June 1990, when he assisted in the first suicide, until March 1999, when he was sentenced to serve 10 to 25 years in a maximum security prison, Dr. Kevorkian was a controversial figure. But his critics and supporters generally agree on this: As a result of his stubborn and often intemperate advocacy for the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die, hospice care has boomed in the United States, and physicians have become more sympathetic to their pain and more willing to prescribe medication to relieve it.

I think this quote, from journalist Jack Lessenberry, nicely sums up Kevorkian:

“Jack Kevorkian, faults and all, was a major force for good in this society. He forced us to pay attention to one of the biggest elephants in society’s living room: the fact that today vast numbers of people are alive who would rather be dead, who have lives not worth living.”

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