US & Canada

Right-to-die advocate Brittany Maynard ends life

Brittany Maynard (undated, AP) Image copyright AP
Image caption Brittany Maynard made international headlines after documenting her decision in a video on the internet

Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill cancer patient whose viral YouTube video reignited the debate on assisted-suicide, ended her life on Saturday.

Mrs Maynard and her husband moved from California to Oregon, where assisted-suicide has been legal since 1997.

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill residents to obtain lethal prescriptions from doctors.

Since 1997, 1,173 people were granted lethal prescriptions and 752 patients used it to end their own lives.

Mrs Maynard, 29, who was suffering from a terminal brain cancer, died at home after administering lethal drugs on Saturday.

She died "in the arms of her loved ones," a spokesman for the campaign group Compassion & Choices said.

Sean Crowley said Mrs Maynard was suffering from increasingly severe seizures and head and neck pains which had at times limited her ability to speak.

Image copyright Youtube
Image caption Mrs Maynard's video has attracted nearly 10 million views on YouTube

Following months of treatment and a worsening prognosis, Mrs Maynard made the decision to use Oregon's laws to obtain a lethal dose of medication which she kept "until the time is right," as she said in her video.

She received the lethal medication several months ago, and last week in a video posted to her website she said that she was considering delaying her plan.

"I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time right now," she said. "But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker."

Mrs Maynard's first video went viral and has attracted more than nine million views on YouTube.

In it she said that she first started experiencing the headaches shortly after getting married.

Assisted suicide is controversial in the US, where it faces staunch opposition from Christian campaign groups, among others.

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