PORTLAND, Ore. (TheBlaze/AP) — Brittany Maynard — the terminally ill woman who vowed to take her own life Nov. 1, then said she decided to wait a bit longer earlier this week — has died.
Maynard, who moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state's assisted-suicide law, took lethal drugs prescribed by a doctor, a spokesman said Sunday.
Maynard, 29, was diagnosed with brain cancer on New Year's Day and was later given six months to live. She and her husband, Dan Diaz, moved from California because that state does not allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with lethal drugs prescribed by a doctor.
This undated photo provided by the Maynard family shows Brittany Maynard. (Image source: AP/Maynard Family)
Maynard became a nationally recognized advocate for the group Compassion & Choices, which seeks to expand aid-in-dying laws beyond a handful of states.
Her story, accompanied by photos from her pre-illness wedding day, got attention across the globe while igniting a debate about doctor-assisted suicide.
“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love,” Maynard wrote on Facebook. “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. 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!”
When Maynard indicated she would wait longer to end her life, she made it clear that she still planned to do so before getting too sick. Maynard suffered from stage IV glioblastoma multiform.
“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 earlier this week. “But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”
Oregon was the first U.S. state to make it legal for a doctor to prescribe a life-ending drug to a terminally ill patient of sound mind who makes the request. The patient must swallow the drug without help; it is illegal for a doctor to administer it.
More than 750 people in Oregon used the law to die as of Dec. 31, 2013. The median age of the deceased is 71. Only six were younger than 35, like Maynard.
The state does not track how many terminally ill people move to Oregon to die. A patient must prove to a doctor that they are living in Oregon. Some examples of documentation include a rental agreement, a voter registration card or a driver's license.
Oregon voters approved the Death with Dignity Act in 1994, then reaffirmed it — 60 percent to 40 percent — in 1997.
This story has been updated.