“I have chosen to pass away with dignity:” Terminally ill, Brittany Maynard ends her life, according to report

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PORTLAND, Oregon (WITI) — Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement, ended her life on Saturday, November 1st at her Portland, Oregon home, 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.

Courtesy: Brittany Maynard

Courtesy: Brittany Maynard

Maynard, 29, had been married a year when she discovered she had an aggressive 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.

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.”

A statement from Compassion & Choices

Brittany Maynard’s public story of bravely enduring brain cancer touched the hearts of millions of Americans. She died peacefully on Saturday, Nov. 1 in her Portland home, surrounded by family and friends.

Brittany suffered increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms. As symptoms grew more severe she chose to abbreviate the dying process by taking the aid-in-dying medication she had received months ago. This choice is authorized under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. She died as she intended – peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones.

Brittany’s family requests that the media respect their wish to mourn her loss privately. They have released an official obituary, cut and pasted below and available at www.TheBrittanyFund.org.

“Brittany has died, but her love of life and nature, her passion and spirit endure,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee. “In Brittany’s memory, do what matters most. And tell those you love how much they matter to you. We will work to carry on her legacy of bringing end-of-life choice to all Americans.”

Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life. Leading the end-of-life choice movement for more than 30 years, we support, educate and advocate. More information is available at: www.compassionandchoices.org.

Brittany Maynard’s Obituary: 

Brittany Lauren Maynard was born in 1984 and forged a brief but solid 29 years of generosity, compassion, education, travel and humor. She happily met her husband, Daniel Diaz, in April of 2007, and they married, as best friends, five years later in September of 2012.

This past year, on New Year’s Day, Brittany was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was given a terminal diagnosis for which there was no cure or life-saving measures available. In the face of such illness and pain, Brittany chose to live each day fully, traveled, and kept as physically active and busy as she possibly could.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

– Theodore Roosevelt. A formula to live by, sick or well.

After being told by one doctor that “she probably didn’t even have weeks to be on her feet,” she was found climbing 10-mile trails along the ice fields of Alaska with her best friend in the sunshine months later.

“Speak your own truth, even when your voice shakes.” she would say.

Brittany graduated from UC Berkeley as an undergrad, and received a Master’s in Education from UC Irvine.  She believed in compassion, equity and that people would remember most how you made them feel in life.

As Faulkner said, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If more people all over the world would do this, the world would change.”

She was an accomplished and adventuresome traveler who spent many months living solo and teaching in orphanages in Kathmandu, Nepal. That single experience forever changed her life and perspective on childhood, happiness, privilege and outcomes.

She fell in love with her time in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and Thailand. She spent a summer working in Costa Rica, and traveled to Tanzania, and summited Kilimanjaro with a girlfriend a month before her wedding. She took ice-climbing courses on Cayambe and Cotopaxi in Ecuador, and was an avid scuba diver who relished her time in the Galapagos, Zanzibar, Caymans and pretty much any island she ever visited.

She loved her two dogs like family, a small Beagle and large Great Dane, and was always the one to take in lost dogs and find them homes. Brittany was a regular volunteer at a local animal rescue organization before her diagnosis.

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. She moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland.  Oregon is a place that strives to protect patient rights and autonomy; she wished that her home state of California had also been able to provide terminally ill patients with the same choice.

Brittany chose to speak out and advocate for this patient right and option, which she felt is an informed choice that should be made available to all terminally ill patients across our great nation.

“The freedom is in the choice,” she believed. “If the option of death with dignity is unappealing to anyone for any reason, they can simply choose not to avail themselves of it. Those very real protections are already in place.”

With great consideration, she gave personal interviews to the UK’s Tonight Show prior to death with dignity being addressed by their Parliament, as well as participated in a U.S.-based campaign for death-with-dignity education and legislation.

She is survived by her faithful, practical and kind husband, Daniel Diaz, her loving, selfless mother, Deborah Ziegler, and honorable stepfather, Gary Holmes. And by Dan’s loving, supportive family: parents, Carmen and Barry, and brothers, David, Adrian and Alex, all of whom she adored and loved very deeply. While she had longed for children of her own, she left this world with zero regrets on time spent, places been, or people she loved in her 29 years.

In this final message, she wanted to express a note of deep thanks to all her beautiful, smart, wonderful, supportive friends whom she “sought out like water” during her life and illness for insight, support and the shared experience of a beautiful life.

“It is people who pause to appreciate life and give thanks who are happiest. If we change our thoughts, we change our world! Love and peace to you all.”

– Brittany Maynard

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37 comments

  • Dawn

    Working in the healthcare field, I applauded her decision to die with dignity. Seeing so many people dying and the suffering that happens with some people because of stupid laws or even “selfish” family members who believe to keep someone alive at all cost regardless of the pain and suffering a sick person. It is not the quantity of life but the quality of life that matters! Even though she choose to end her life, she still died and if God didn’t want her to die at that point, a “miracle” would have happen and she would still be alive. Free will and all, if it wasn’t her time to die, she would still be alive today.

    • Sarai

      If it isnt our place to say sge shoyld stay, tgen its bot your place to suggest others should go. People like you scare me, since you have access to and influence over vulneravle people in similar situations. Dying is far more complicated tgan just pain and “quality of life”. The inteicate relariinships we form in families abd with friends play a role even if some would deny such.

  • Sarai

    I know this is going to sound callous, but I’m really tired of hearing about this. She made a choice to end her life. I think the constant public inclusion in that choice was unnecessary. Lets move on now.

  • Shah Chy

    How insensitive and cruel can you be? This woman died on her terms and you’re claiming she did it for the fame? I bet you’re a lonely and cold person.

  • taxpayer

    Oh come on people. This cancer is the worst of worst. She didn’t want to suffer a painful death you might think different if you were in her shoes. You can act all tuff and say you wouldn’t but I beg to differ. It’s a free country and she has her choice. May she rest in peace.

  • B

    I am truly not sure how I feel about the Death with Dignity option, but I can tell you the brain cancer Brittany had was the worst brain cancer possible. I know this because my mother has it. It robs you progressively of all functions and literally takes over your brain. There is a very, very small percentage of people who live over 5 years. In Brittany’s case, this tumor had already taken up a massive part of her brain, even after initial efforts to remove it. In my mom’s case, her tumor grew to an apple size within a matter of months. She suffers from intense pain everyday in the form of excruciating headaches from pressure building within her head that has no means to escape. Before the tumor kills you, it takes away all motor functions, leaves you with seizures and unable to do anything for yourself. Again, I am still forming my own feelings about choosing when you end your life, but I know her decision wasn’t an easy one. She chose not to suffer more than she had to. She was in the final stages…. weeks left. I support her and I know she is with God, even if He doesn’t want us to end our lives before He decides.

  • Stephanie Baer

    If God didn’t intend on her life ending this way then it wouldn’t have ended. God is merciful not cruel therefore he welcomed her with open arms! You ought to be ashamed of your judgemental narrow minded opinion. She is now free from pain and her family doesn’t have to watch the torture cancer would’ve had on her! God rest her soul.

  • Sis

    Selfish is asking someone to exist and be exposed to chemicals and radiation despite the fact they won’t heal them and they will still die after enduring the barbaric “treatments” for this cruel disease. No one should have to suffer that and no family should have to suffer watching a loved one deteriorate slowly, painfully, humiliated and helpless. It is truly a horrific death. She and her family were informed and brave and spared each other unimaginable grief by choosing to be in control of her inevitable death. If you have not been a caregiver of someone with this disease then you have no idea what she and her family were facing. They are brave and loving and strong and no one who hasn’t looked this disease in the face has any right to speak a single negative word about this fantastically brave woman and the amazingly loving family that supported her.

  • Virginia

    You people are disgusting. To expect someone to sit there and suffer through cancer is just cruel and unusual, just because your invisible man in the sky supposedly says to. Have you spoken to God? Did he leave you a voicemail explaining in specific detail how he felt on this situation? No? That’s what I thought. In the end, it was her decision to make. And that “15 minutes of fame” you spoke about? She was making other people aware that this was an option if they so choose. Get off of your religious high horse.

    • Soulless

      you religious people are delusional. Quite preaching something you won’t even do it yourself. hypocrites. Haven’t you retards ever wondered if this was God’s choice for her? You think God wants her to suffer? you people are retarded

  • Mike

    I certainly don’t want to judge her but I bet she would have had time tomorrow to spend with her loved ones. Why give that up? And what about the day after that? Did she have another week? Again…I wouldn’t want to give that up. It was her decision.

  • Snoot

    Foolish girl! Doctors aren’t Gods! They really don’t know everything! My cousin’s husband had a Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor and was told by “expert doctors” in that field that he had only 4 months to live! That’s a shorter time than Brittany was given. Yet he beat his “incurable aggressive brain tumor.” Yep, years later that tumor is gone, he is still alive, still happily married, and enjoying life. You see, Brittany, doctors don’t have all the answers!

  • Linda Francischelli

    I don’t think that I could do what Brittany chose to do, but if I had her illness and had to face what she was about to face, maybe I would feel differently. God bless her and may she rest in peace.

  • WW

    Ladies and gentlemen, Barbara has provided us with an example of how religion and faith can derange your moral compass. She would prefer that someone suffer horribly until death, but it’s the sufferer who is selfish?

  • Sonya

    I Totally agree with her decision! I believe all ur negative responses are plan hateful & bet u haven’t suffered.

  • Shelly

    “God decides when you should die”. Whatever … I’m an atheist so don’t believe in any of that. She was suffering, there is no cure. I say good for her. I hope I would have the courage to do the same.

  • jerry hancocl

    I think it is none of ur business is all Britney’s business and her family she did was happiest and best for her and made her at peace with herself and I respect choice it is for the people that when I have complained about it or whatever let me tell you what it takes a very very very strong person to do what she did and still have a smile

    • Vie Anne

      This has hurt so many of us. We feel so sad, and yet I have to say she is one amazing lady! and as a christian, I don’t think I could do what she did, but I also see her as a fellow human and with compassion. I see her as being at peace and dying with her loved ones was the most bitter sweet moment –ever. Rest in peace Brittanny.
      I agree with you, Jerry, it’s her call, her life and her choice, agree or not. Still very sad :( such a loss for her anyway you turn it. So young to have to deal with such a loss of hopes and dreams.

  • Vie Anne

    as a Christian (I think) I don’t agree with HER choice, but as a human being, I say I an saddened, yet in awe of her dignity and her courage. I say rest in peace Brittany. I say God is a God of eternal compassion and will welcome you. Im sad for your mom and your hubby. It’s a very painful story for all of us. I am sad and didnt know you but still mourn for you. This is a tough one! She had to suffer such loss any way you turn it.

  • Vie Anne

    Barbara, I don’t agree either, but I also have compassion for her and she is one tough chick to do this act and face it sooner than later. I believe in a merciful God who will judge her based on HER Heart not ours.
    Sad story no matter how you turn it.
    What a loss of dream and hopes…

  • ...

    No judgment here. Rest in peace Brittany may you feel no more pain or suffering. You will be missed by your family and friends and the lifes you have touched.
    I hope one day there will be a cure for all illnesses so wonderful people like you won’t have to make the choice to suffer then die or to die without pain.
    Its sad that you are so young and full of life and didn’t have a chance to actually live. If you think about it, in someway the cancer still didn’t win; you still had a chance to see the world and enjoy nature and life. maybe only for a moment but you did.
    It’s true to enjoy every moment you can because you never know when you will take your last breath of fresh air or have a chance to clime that mountain. Thank you for sharing your story Brittany.
    In my eyes you won, in my eyes you are brave and wonderful. Rest in Peace.
    Bless you, your family and friends.

  • bugs

    I sympathize with this family and know how hard it is to watch a loved one suffer with brain cancer. My husband died just over four years ago from three types of brain cancer and one of them was GBM. Now her loved ones know she is no longer suffering .

  • Monika

    I always find it hilarious when people say ” it’s not our place to judge” while degrading others or cussing them out. Its the same chuckle I get whenever I watch the WWEs newest anti bullying ad.

  • JP79

    Our life, our choice… You can never truly feel the pain of another, you just judge and push your beliefs….

  • bderk.

    guess until every person deals with a family with cancer, they will never understand the pain and the suffering they go through. Not only the patient but also the family. Praying she found peace and the family will also find peace that she is with god!

    • anna

      I believe that God is the giver and the takerof life and all else that comes in between.Andvthe money goes to?.I’ve seen quite a few of these compassionate stories and it always seems to be followed by donation of money.There are millions of terminally ill souls out there and don’t ask for or receive money That’s dignity.As with any loss I feel for the family,but she chose and the family accepted the decision.Hope they have peace with it

  • caroline gann

    I KNOW THAT EVERYONE HAS THIER OWN OPINIONS ON THIS YOUNG WOMAN’S CHOICE. AND I AM NOT HERE TO PASS JUDGEMENT ON ANYONE’S OPINION OR HER CHOICE!
    IF FACED WITH THIS DECISION I WOULD HOPE THE SAME FROM OTHERS.

    I DON’T BELIEVE THE FOCUS SHOULD BE ON THE DEBATE OF HOW SHE ENDED HER LIFE, BUT INSTEAD I THINK THE FOCUS SHOULD BE ON HOW SHE LIVED HER LIFE.
    AFTERALL, WE ALL MEET DEATH ALONE, BUT WHAT WE DO IN LIFE BECOMES IMMORTALIZED BY THOSE WE TOUCH THROUGHOUT OUR YEARS ON THIS PLANET.

    I READ THE ARTICLE ABOVE AND THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT SHE CONTRIBUTED TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. ALL THE CHILDREN SHE SELFLESSLY HELPED EDUCATE. THE PURE JOY OF NATURE’S WONDERS SHE SHARED WITH LOVED ONES. THE DOGS THAT FOUND HOMES AND LIVE HAPPY LIVES WITH THIER OWNERSTODAY BECAUSE OF HER NEED TO DO WHAT SHE COULD FOR THEM. THE FAMILY SHE SO LOVED UNTIL THE END.

    THE TIME SHE SPENT BRAVELY PUBLICIZING THE DETAILS OF HER ILLNESS IN AN ATTEMPT TO LEGALIZE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE DEATH WITH DIGNITY, WAS HER WAY OF DOING ONE MORE THING FOR THE WORLD BEFORE LEAVING IT.

    SHE WANTED HER LEGACY TO BE GIVING EVERYONE AN OPTION THAT SHOULD BE AVAILABLE TO ANY HUMAN BEING NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE.

    TO ME HER MESSAGE SAYS NO ONE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE KEPT FROM THEM BY ANYONE, INCLUDING THOSE WHOS PERSONAL BELIEFS, RELIGION, OR FEARS DO NOT SUPPORT DEATH WITH DIGNITY. EVERY HUMAN SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE OR NOT TO CHOOSE.

    READING ALL THIS I THINK SHE LEAD A PRETTY IMPRESSIVE LIFE, AND HER TIME WAS SPENT LOVING ALL SHE COULD, GIVING ALL SHE COULD, AND HELPING ALL SHE COULD! HER LIFE NOT HER DEATH SHOULD BE WHAT PEOPLE FOCUS ON!!
    RIP BRITTANY MAYNARD

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