Terminally ill death-with-dignity advocate Brittany Maynard, 29, ends own life
Brittany Maynard, the cancer-stricken Californian who became the face of the “death with dignity” movement when she relocated to Oregon and announced plans to take her own life, completed the act Saturday.
“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love,” the 29-year-old posted on Facebook. “Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness.”
Maynard died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family at her Portland home after taking prescription drugs that she obtained legally, according to Compassion & Choices, a group that supports physician-assisted suicide.
Maynard was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer on New Year’s Day and was told she had only a few months to live. The glioblastomas, or brain tumors, caused seizures, and the medications she took to treat the swelling of her brain caused rapid weight gain and facial swelling, according to The Brittany Fund website.
She moved with her husband, mother and stepfather to Oregon — then made headlines when she announced her intention to take her life with barbiturates, which is legal under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
Montana, New Mexico, Washington and Vermont have similar laws.
“My glioblastoma is going to kill me, and that’s out of my control,” she told People magazine. “I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it, and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.
“For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me,” she added in the interview. “They try to mix it up with suicide and that’s really unfair, because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying.”
She compiled a “bucket list,” which included visiting the Grand Canyon, a trip she made late last month. But the next day, she also had one of her worst seizures, People reported.
In the end, surrounded by “a ring of support around my bed as I type,” Maynard said she hoped her death would make a difference.
“If I’m leaving a legacy, it’s to . . . be a part of this change of this health care policy so it becomes available to all Americans,” she told People.
And in her last words on Facebook, she added, “Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”