Terminally ill Brittany Maynard, 29, ends her life, according to report

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement, ended her life on Saturday at her home in Portland, Ore., according to People.

“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” Maynard wrote on Facebook, People reported.

“Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to Die With Dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illness,” a post on her website read. “She moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland.”

The website included Brittany’s obituary.

Courtesy: Brittany Maynard
Courtesy: Brittany Maynard

Maynard, 29, had been married for one year when she discovered she had an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”

Goodbye messages from family and friends started showing up on social media on Saturday.

Photo credit: thebrittanyfund.org
Photo credit: thebrittanyfund.org

Last April, doctors said she had six months to live. She considered dying in a hospice, she wrote in an op-ed piece for CNN.

“I quickly decided that death with dignity was the best option for me and my family,” she wrote. “We had to uproot from California to Oregon, because Oregon is one of only five states where death with dignity is authorized.”

Brittany Maynard (left) with mom Debbie Ziegler (Courtesy: Brittany Maynard)
Brittany Maynard (left) with mom Debbie Ziegler
(Courtesy: Brittany Maynard)

Maynard posted a series of YouTube videos in which she and family members talked about her decision and supported an expansion of assisted suicide laws. She started an organization, Compassion and Choices, to promote that idea.

“My dream is that every terminally ill American has access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity,” she wrote on her website.

She visited the Grand Canyon last week, checking off the last item on her bucket list.

“The Canyon was breathtakingly beautiful,” she wrote on her website, “and I was able to enjoy my time with the two things I love most: my family and nature.”

Oregon voters approved the law allowing terminally ill people to end their lives in 1994, but opponents persuaded a federal judge to issue an injunction temporarily blocking the law. Voters in November 1997 overwhelmingly reaffirmed the nation’s first aid-in-dying law and it’s been in place ever since.

According to state statistics compiled through Dec. 31, 2013:

— People who have used the law since late 1997: 752 (396 men, 356 women)

— People younger than 35 who have used the law: 6

— Median age of the deceased: 71

— Percentage of the deceased who were white: 97

— Percentage who had at least some college: 72

— Percentage of patients who informed relatives of their decision: 94

— Percentage of patients who died at a home: 95 percent

— Median minutes between ingestion of lethal drug and unconsciousness: 5

— Median minutes between ingestion and death: 25

— Number of terminally ill people who have moved to Oregon to die: unknown

 

 

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