I am extremely sad to tell you that I received a call at 10.45am from Jane Nicklinson to inform me that her husband Tony died peacefully at home at about 10am this morning.
Jane told me that Tony went rapidly down hill over last weekend, having contracted pneumonia. He had made an Advance Directive in 2004 refusing any life sustaining treatment and also refused food from last week.
Jane said that, after Tony received the draft Judgment on 12 August refusing his claim, the fight seemed to go out of him. He said that he was heartbroken by the High Court’s decision that he could not end his life at a time of his choosing with the help of a doctor.
He could not understand how the legal arguments on his behalf could not succeed.
When I visited Tony with his Barrister, Paul Bowen QC on Tuesday, 14 August, this is what he said to me:-
“So, we lost. In truth I am crestfallen, totally devastated and very frightened. I fear for the future and the misery it is bound to bring.
I suppose it was wrong of me to invest so much hope and expectation into the judgement but I really believed in the veracity of the arguments and quite simply could not understand how anybody could disagree with the logic. I guess I forgot the emotional component.”
Tony died with Jane and his daughters, Beth and Lauren, and his sister, Ginny, beside him. They totally supported his legal action to change the law. One of the last things that Tony did was to prepare a tweet which his daughter has released.
One question that many of Tony’s followers have been asking is ‘What now?’ in terms of the legal action that Tony fought so hard to pursue and the legal principles he hoped to establish. The appeal that he had initiated will come to an end unless someone steps forward in similar circumstances to pursue the action.
I would like to say what an extraordinary man Tony was. He was gutsy, determined and a fighter to the end. It has been an absolute privilege for me and his barrister (who is away and who I know would endorse these comments) to have been his legal team. I only wish the outcome of the case could have been different during Tony’s lifetime. I know that the right to die with dignity issues that Tony championed will not be forgotten due to the light that Tony shone on them and that this important debate will continue due to Tony.
I know that Tony would want me to say thank you to all his supporters who gave him great comfort and strength.
Jane asks for privacy at this difficult and painful time for her and her daughters.
Could you please make sure that any contact with the family is through this firm in the coming days. I anticipate that Jane may wish to speak to the media during the course of next week.
Please click below for the related coverage:
Tony Nicklinson was a fighter to the end, says solicitor (BBC, 22 August 2012)