After Losing His Battle Over Euthanasia, Tony Nicklinson Has Died

Last week, the High Court ruled that Tony Nicklinson, a paralyzed man, could not be euthanized:

Tony Nicklinson, after hearing the court’s decision (Matt Cardy – Getty Images)

Today, just days after the ruling, his family informed the world that Nicklinson died of pneumonia late last night:

Police said they would not be investigating Nicklinson’s death. “We can confirm he passed away,” a police spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity. “His death certificate has been signed by a doctor, so it is not a matter for Wiltshire Police or the coroner.”

Nicklinson had said that even if he were granted the right to die, he would not want to be killed immediately, but just wanted to know that the option existed.

You wish he could’ve died on his own terms, but at least he’s no longer suffering what he called “a living nightmare.”

On his Twitter account, his family wrote this:

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Pete084

    It has been reported that he refused food and medication since returning home, a somewhat less dignified way to die than an assisted death. I can empathise as I watched my father slowly die as I helped care for him, he had cancer of the oesophagus and was therefore inoperable, the stent the hospital fitted made it difficult for him to eat, so he too starved to death, a mear shadow of the man that I knew as my father.

    I hope Tony’s family feel the sense of relief and release that my family and I felt when my fathers suffering ended.

  • Pollracker

    Its just horrible that because of peoples own religious belief they won’t let others die with a sense of dignity

  • Michael Gabriel

    TO THE FAMILY OF TONY NICKLINSON – I am sorry that your father had to suffer the dissapointment of losing his case. I hope that  the people who made that horrible ruling have to one day suffer everything your father went thru physically and emotionally.  I don’t know much about this case but I would be willing to bet that voting against your fathers wishes were the actions of some delusional bible thumpers. One more reason why I despise and hate christianity.

  • Morva Ádám

    Michael, I understand your frustration, but wishing bad things on those idiots, who made this horrible ruling is quite ill-mannered. We just need to talk about these issues more and reason with those fucktards and make sure we elect well-equipped people to make decisions like this.

  • James Jackson

    If I was a spiritual person, I’d say this was quite a blessing.  Nonetheless I am most pleased that in addition to Mr. Nicklinson’s end to needless suffering, the police are wisely leaving his family alone and not doing an unnecessary inquiry.

  • Santiago


    One good documentary I saw last year that illustrates a somewhat differnt case was Frontline’s Right to Die. In this case it was an American ( if I remeber correctly) living in the UK who went to Switzerland to die in his own terms. You can watch it online for free.

  • Gregory Marshall

    It’s almost as if he said, you won’t give me the right to die? Ha, FahQ, I will show you and die anyway!
    I am glad his suffering is over.

  • Michael

    Indeed, the BBC is reporting the same thing, which just goes to show the futility of refusing someone the right to die.

  • Julanar

     I don’t want to start an argument, but could we please not use the word “fucktards”, especially when talking about respecting people? It’s basically the offensive term “retard” made even worse.

    Thank you.

  • kk

    The world, not just England, has lost a GIANT!  What an amazing gentleman…He will not be forgotten.

  • Neil Rickert

    A thank you to Tony Nicklinson for staying alive just long enough to give religion the black eye that they deserve.

  • Edmond


    “-tard” is NOT a SUFFIX to be used for insulting people.

  • Maria

    I don’t wish suffering on anybody, but I agree that Christianity is stupid

  • Don Gwinn

    “You do realize that if I decide to end my life, you can’t actually stop me?”