Return to home1514 Dec 4,
Richard Hunne, English "heretic", allegedly committed suicide.
1889 Jan 30, Rudolf (b.1858),
Archduke of Austria, and his mistress, Marie Vetschera, were found
dead having committed a double suicide overnight. Their story was
later depicted by Hungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso in his film
"Vices and Pleasures" (1976).
1901 Feb 17, Carles Casagemas
(b.1881), Spanish painter and close friend of Picasso, shot himself
in front of Germaine Pichot.
1932 Mar 14, George Eastman
(77), founder of Eastman Kodak, committed suicide. “To my friends.
My work is done, why wait?"
(ON, 3/05, p.12)(http://tinyurl.com/5fjeq)
1940 John Monk Saunders,
Hollywood screenwriter and former husband to actress Fay Wray
(1928-1939), hanged himself.
(SFC, 8/10/04, p.B7)
1942 Switzerland passed a
euthanasia law to enable those with just a few weeks to live the
opportunity of a dignified death. Swiss law made assisted suicide
(WSJ, 11/22/02, p.A1)(Econ, 10/15/05, p.59)
1948 Jul 21, Arshile Gorky
(b.1904/5), artist, (born as Vostanig Adoian of Armenian parents in
Eastern Turkey) died of suicide. He came to the US in 1920 and
assumed a new name in admiration of Russian writer Maxim Gorky. His
works included "Gray Drawing for Pastoral" (1946). His last
paintings were described as "imaginary erotic cosmologies." In 1999
Matthew Spender published the biography "From a High Place: A Life
of Arshile Gorky."
1954 Mar 29, Karen Anne
Quinlan, famous comatose patient (right to die case), was born in
1958 Jan 1, Dr. Douglas Kelley
(45), psychiatrist, committed suicide using potassium cyanide. He
was one of the psychiatrist used by the US Army to interview Nazi
war criminals at Nuremberg and authored the book “22 Cells in
(SSFC, 2/6/05, p.A17)
1961 Aug 3, Britain’s
Parliament adopted the Suicide Act of 1961, which decriminalized
suicide in the UK, but made assisting one punishable by up to 14
years in jail.
1961 Dec 3, In the SF Bay Area
Francis Patrick Kennedy jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and landed
on the ground near Lime Point in Marin County. He survived the
200-foot leap and doctors gave him a 50-50 chance of pulling
through. Kennedy died 10 days later.
(SSFC, 12/4/11, DB p.46)
1967 St. Christopher's, the 1st
modern hospice, was begun in West London.
(SFC, 8/5/03, p.A18)
1970 Feb 25, Mark Rothko
(b.1903), painter, committed suicide in NYC. He was born in Dvinsk,
Russia, which is now Daugavpils, Latvia, and his family moved to
Portland, Ore., in 1913. His work moved to abstraction in the 1940s.
The execution of his will provoked a long drawn out court case. His
daughter charged the executors and the owner of Rothko’s gallery
with conspiracy and conflict of interest, and won. A 1998 show was
accompanied by the book "Mark Rothko" by Jeffrey Weiss with
contributions by John Cage, Carol-Mancusi-Ungaro, Barbara Novak,
Brian O’Doherty, Mark Rosenthal and Jessica Stewart.
(WSJ, 6/4/98, p.A16)(SFEC, 6/7/98, BR p.4)(AP,
1985 Jan 17, A jury in New
Jersey ruled that terminally ill patients have the right to starve
1986 Mar 15, The AMA ruled that
euthanasia was ethical on coma patients.
1986 Nov 1, In Japan seven
charred bodies of women of the cult Friends of Truth were found on a
beach. Their leader had recently died in a hospital.
(SFC, 3/27/97, p.A19)
1970 Nov 25, Yukio Mishima
(45), Japanese author and nationalist (Hara-kiri), died. Mishima
(45), a writer, invaded military headquarters in Tokyo and committed
ritual suicide samurai-style. His death was an act of protest after
he failed to persuade the country's Self Defense Force to stage a
coup and renounce the US-imposed postwar constitution that banned
Japanese aggressive military action. His books included "The Sound
of Waves" and "The Temple and the Golden Pavilion." In 1998 Jiro
Fukushima published a memoir that contained 15 letters from Mishima
and descriptions of a sexual liaison with Mishima. A lawsuit soon
halted book sales.
(SFEC, 1/25/98, Z1 p.2)(SFC, 10/21/99, p.B7)(MC,
1971 Jul 26, Diane Arbus
[Nemerov] (b.1923), photographer, committed suicide in NYC. In 1984
Patricia Bosworth authored: "Diane Arbus: A Biography."
1973 Nov 13, Brian Stanley
Johnson (b.1933), British avant-garde novelist, died by suicide. In
2005 Jonathan Coe authored “Like a Fiery Elephant: The story of B.S.
1973 Ernest Becker authored
"The Denial of Death." It reflected a cultural belief that the
denial of death in the US was a pathology responsible for Western
woes from materialism to militarism.
(SSFC, 12/8/02, p.M2)
1975 Jan 6, George Price
(b.1922), American scientist, exhausted his generosity by slashing
his own throat with a pair of scissors. In 2010 Oren Harman authored
“The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins
1976 Mar 31, The New Jersey
Supreme Court allowed the removal of the respirator that assisted
Karen Ann Quinlan, who had been comatose since Apr 15, 1975.
Quinlan, who remained comatose, died in 1985.
(SFC, 12/12/96, p.C8)(AP, 3/31/97)
1976 Apr 9, Phil Ochs (b.1940),
American protest singer and musician, committed suicide.
1977 Dec 22, Thomas Helms (26)
climbed to the edge of the observation deck on the eighty-sixth
floor of the Empire State Building, and jumped intending to kill
himself on the streets 1000s of feet below. He only fell twenty feet
before landing on a narrow ledge on the 85th floor. Helms suffered
no major injuries but was knocked unconscious for
half-an-hour--adequate time for an emergency crew to bring him
1978 Nov 18, In Jonestown,
Guyana, California Rep. Leo J. Ryan and four other people,
investigating the Jim Jones cult, were killed by members of the
Peoples Temple. Greg Robinson, a SF Examiner photographer, Don
Harris, NBC correspondent, Bob Brown, NBC cameraman, and Patricia
Parks, a temple defector, were shot dead. Congressional aide Jackie
Speier survived 5 bullets. The killings were followed by a night of
mass murder and suicide. 918 people died at Jonestown, including 260
children. In 1982 John Jacobs and Tim Reiterman authored "Raven: The
Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People." In 2010 Laura
Johnston Kohl authored “Jonestown Survivor: An Insider’s Look." In
2011 survivors unveiled a memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland,
Ca., with the names of all the dead.
11/17/96, p.22)(AP, 11/18/97)(SFEC, 11/8/98, p.A18)(SFC, 5/25/00,
p.C2)(SSFC, 11/16/03, p.D1)(http://tinyurl.com/4ync97m)(SFC,
1979 Sep 8, Jean Seberg,
actress (Breathless, Airport), committed suicide at 40.
1983-2002 Bulgaria experienced an average of 7.4
self-immolations a year during this period, most of them politically
(Econ, 3/23/13, p.60)
1987 Nov 27, A young man
survived 7 attempts at suicide in Somerset, England.
1990 Jun 4, Janet Adkins (54)
of Portland, Ore., became the first person to use a suicide machine
developed by Dr. Kevorkian.
(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A3)
1990 Jun 5, Authorities in
Oakland County, Michigan, moved to prevent Dr. Jack Kevorkian from
continuing to make available a suicide device that Janet Adkins, an
Oregon woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, had used a day
earlier to take her own life.
1990 Jun 25, The US Supreme
Court ruled that family members cannot end the lives of comatose
relatives unless those relatives previously made their wishes known.
1990 Jun, In Michigan Dr. Jack
Kevorkian asked Janet Good (d.1997 at 73) if he could use her house
for his first assisted suicide. She initially said ok but after
conferring with her husband, a retired police officer, declined the
request on the grounds that it might be illegal.
(SFC, 8/27/97, p.A9)
1990 Dec 26, Nancy Cruzan, the
young woman in an irreversible vegetative state whose case led to a
US Supreme Court decision on the right to die, died at a Missouri
1991 Feb 5, A Michigan court
barred Dr. Jack Kevorkian from assisting in suicides.
1991 May 14, Jiang Qing (77),
widow of Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung, committed suicide.
1991 Nov, Michigan suspended
the medical license of Dr. Kevorkian.
(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A3)
1993 Aug 17, A prosecutor in
Wayne County, Mich., charged Dr. Jack Kevorkian under Michigan's ban
on assisted suicide for aiding in the death of Thomas Hyde, who
suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. A jury later acquitted
1994 May 2, Dr. Kevorkian was
acquitted of violating a 1992 law against assisted suicide.
(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A3)(MC, 5/2/02)
1994 Nov 26, Margaret Garrish,
a 72-year-old Detroit woman, committed suicide in the presence of
Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
1994 Nov 28, Ronald "Buster"
Edwards (b.1931), British Great Train Robber (1963), committed
suicide by hanging in Lambeth, London.
1994 Georgia state legislators
adopted a law banning people from publicly advertising suicide.
(SFC, 2/7/12, p.A9)
1995 Australia's Northern
Territory introduced the world's first voluntary euthanasia
legislation, but it was overturned in 1997 by the federal
1996 Mar 6, A federal appeals
court struck down Washington state’s ban on doctor-assisted suicide.
1996 Mar 8, Dr. Jack Kevorkian
was acquitted of assisted suicide for helping two suffering patients
1996 May 14, A jury in Pontiac,
Mich., acquitted Dr. Jack Kevorkian of assisted-suicide charges, his
third legal victory in two years. The judge dismissed murder charges
in the same case.
(AP, 5/14/97)(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A3)
1996 May 15, US Navy Admiral
Jeremy Boorda committed suicide shortly before answering questions
from Newsweek Magazine about his right to wear certain combat pins.
Admiral Jeremy "Mike" Boorda, the nation's top Navy officer, died
from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after some of his military
awards were called into question.
(SFC, 11/25/96, p.A3)(AP, 5/16/97)
1996 May 16, US Navy Admiral
Jeremy "Mike" Boorda (57), the nation’s top Navy officer, died from
a self-inflicted gunshot wound after some of his military awards
were called into question.
(AP, 5/16/01)(MC, 5/16/02)
1996 Jul 1, The world’s first
voluntary suicide law was scheduled to go into effect in Australia.
The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act originated in Darwin.
(WSJ, 6/27/96, p.A18)
1996 Jul 12, Lee Guthrie Jr., a
member of the Aryan Republican Army, was found dead of an apparent
suicide in a county jail in Kentucky. The group advocated killing
Jews, deporting African-Americans and setting up a Bible-based
(SFC, 7/13/96, p.A7)
1996 Sep 7, Isabel Correa
became the 40th person known to have died in the presence of Dr.
Jack Kevorkian, less than a day after police burst into a Michigan
motel room, interrupting a meeting between her and Kevorkian.
1997 Jan 8, The Supreme Court
heard arguments on whether to allow physician-assisted suicide.
1997 Mar 15, An art show that
featured 13 oil paintings by Dr. Kevorkian opened in Royal Oak,
Mich. They depicted severed heads, moldering skulls and rotting
(SFC, 3/17/97, p.A2)
1997 Mar 21, A suicide bomber
killed three women in Tel Aviv.
1997 Mar 22, In Canada five
Solar Temple cult members died in an apparent mass suicide in
Quebec. Devotees believed that suicide transports them to a new life
in a place called Sirius.
(WSJ, 3/24/97, p.A1)(SFC, 3/27/97, p.A19)
1997 Mar 24, The Australian
Senate struck down the law passed by the Northern Territory’s
Parliament that allowed doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally
ill. The law might be reinstated in 2000 if the territory is granted
proposed statehood because under the constitution the national
Parliament cannot override state laws. A growing interest soon
developed in travel to Mexico to buy liquid pentobarbital
(Nembutol), which causes a painless death. The Australian government
later banned Philip Nitschke's book, "The Peaceful Pill Handbook"
(2006) which gives tips on everything from carbon monoxide to buying
pentobarbital in Mexico.
(SFC, 3/25/97, p.A12)(SFC, 1/14/98,
1997 Mar 26, The bodies 39
young men and women (26-72) of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found in
a mansion at Rancho Santa Fe, near San Diego. The techno-religious
group, led by an older man named "Do," (aka Marshall Herff
Applewhite), had committed mass suicide as the Hale-Bopp comet
approached. They had run a business under the name WW Higher Source
that engaged in WWW page development.
(SFC, 3/27/97, p.A1)(SFC, 3/28/97, p.A1,12)(AP,
1997 Mar 28, A medical examiner
revealed that some members of the Heaven's Gate cult who'd committed
suicide in a California mansion had also been castrated in apparent
pursuit of the group's ideal of androgynous immortality.
1997 Apr 21, A federal court
blocked Oregon’s 1994 approved law on doctor assisted suicide.
(SFC, 4/22/97, p.A15)
1997 May 13, From Ethiopia it
was reported that 6 teenage girls had committed suicide over the
last 9 months in order to avoid traditional marriages to elderly
cousins as old as 80.
(SFC, 5/13/97, p.A13)
1997 Jun 26, The Supreme Court
ruled that terminally ill Americans had no constitutional right to
doctor-assisted suicide, but did nothing to bar states from
legalizing the process.
(SFC, 6/27/97, p.A1)(AP, 6/26/98)
1997 Jun, Dr. Kevorkian was
again accused of assisted suicide. A mistrial resulted.
(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A3)
1997 Dec 3, In Norway Dr.
Christian Sandsdalen was convicted for the mercy killing in Jun 1996
of Bodil Bjerkmann (45), who suffered from multiple sclerosis. He
was the first Norwegian tried for mercy killing.
(SFC, 12/4/97, p.C4)
1998 Sep 17, Dr. Kevorkian
videotaped the injection death of Thomas Youk.
(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A3)
1998 Nov 22, The CBS News
program "60 Minutes" showed videotape of Dr. Jack Kevorkian giving
lethal drugs to Thomas Youk, a terminally ill patient. Kevorkian, an
advocate of assisted suicide, challenged prosecutors to arrest him
and later was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison for
1998 Nov 25, In Michigan a
prosecutor brought charges of first-degree murder against Dr. Jack
Kevorkian for administering a lethal injection last Sept. to a
terminally ill man who wished to die.
(SFC, 11/26/98, p.A1)
1998 In Switzerland Ludwig
Minelli founded Dignitas, a physician assisted suicide organization
(WSJ, 11/22/02, p.A1)
1998 Suicides in England
reached a peak among 15-34-year-olds and by 2004 declined 31%.
(Econ, 10/30/04, p.61)
1999 Mar 22, Acting as his own
lawyer, Dr. Jack Kevorkian went on trial on murder charges for the
first time, telling a jury in Pontiac, Mich., he was merely carrying
out his professional duty in a videotaped assisted death shown on
"60 Minutes." Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder.
1999 Mar 26, Right-to-die
advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian was convicted in Pontiac, Mich., of
second-degree murder for giving Thomas Youk, a patient with Lou
Gehrig's disease, a lethal injection. His action was videotaped and
broadcast on television.
(SFC, 3/27/99, p.A1)(AP, 3/26/00)
1999 Apr 13, Judge Jessica
Cooper sentenced Dr. Kevorkian to 10-25 years in prison. He planned
to appeal the sentence which would require him to serve over 6 years
before being eligible for parole.
(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A3)
1999 Apr 14, In Michigan Dr.
Kevorkian said that he would begin to refuse food immediately.
(SFC, 4/15/99, p.A3)
1999 May 18, Georgette Smith, a
Florida woman left paralyzed from the neck down after being shot by
her elderly mother, won the right to be taken off life support.
Smith died the next day, shortly after being taken off a ventilator;
her mother, Shirley Egan, was later acquitted of attempted murder.
1999 Jul 28, Surgeon General
David Satcher declared suicide a serious national threat, saying,
"People should not be afraid or ashamed to seek help."
2000 Jul 10, Justin Pierce
(25), actor, committed suicide by hanging himself in hotel room of
the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. His last movie, Looking for
Leonard (2002), was not released until two years after his death
because production had been halted due to lack of funds. His
character subsequently disappeared from the film without
explanation. He was born March 21, 1975 in Paddington, London,
2001 Mar 23, It was reported
that 22 Guam teenagers had committed suicide over the past 26
months. Members of a secretive club called Prestigious Angels
promised to kill themselves if their friends would follow.
(SFC, 3/23/01, p.D6)
2001 Apr 10, The Dutch Senate
legalized euthanasia gave doctors immunity from prosecution for
assisting in the deaths of terminally ill patients.
(SFC, 4/11/01, p.C2)
2002 Feb 6, The Oregon Health
Division released statistics on assisted suicides for last year. 44
people received prescriptions for lethal medication but only 21
actually took their lives.
(SFC, 2/7/02, p.A3)
2002 Apr 17, US District Judge
Robert Jones upheld Oregon’s assisted-suicide law and said that
Attorney General John Ashcroft should not "determine the legitimacy"
of medical acts.
(SFC, 4/18/02, p.A3)
2002 May 16, In Belgium the
parliament approved a euthanasia bill that would give terminally ill
patients the right to die under limited conditions.
(SFC, 5/17/02, p.A20)
2002 Jul 6, In California Bob
Stern (77) left his Central Valley home and committed suicide. He
had discussed his plans with family members the previous evening. In
2005 his daughter Susan Stern produced the documentary film “The
Self-Made Man" for PBS TV.
(SFC, 7/25/05, p.1)
2002 Sep 5, In Illinois Judge
Harold Frobish of Livingston County ruled that prison inmates can
choose to starve themselves rather than endure years of solitary
confinement and that right outweighs the state’s duty to keep them
(SFC, 9/7/02, p.A4)
2003 Jan 10, An Australian
euthanasia campaigner complained that customs officials seized a
machine he designed to help people kill themselves as he prepared to
board a flight to the United States.
2004 Nov 11, Retired Judge
Robert I.H. Hammerman (76), fearing memory loss and life in a
nursing home, committed suicide in Pikesville, Md.
(SFC, 11/13/04, p.A2)
2004 Nov 26, In NYC a man
jumped to his death from the 86th-floor observation deck at the
Empire State Building.
2005 Dec 20, In Australia
Rebekah Lawrence (34) committed suicide in Sydney. In 2009 a coroner
said that participation in an intense self-help course led a woman
to suffer a psychotic breakdown before she stripped naked and leaped
to her death from an office window in front of horrified co-workers.
Her death came two days after she completed The Turning Point, a
four-day seminar run by the Sydney self-development company People
2006 Mar 29, In San Francisco
Linda Woo was found inside a car in her garage with her 2
unconscious children. Her daughter 3 died in the attempted suicide.
Her 4-year old son suffered brain injuries. In 2009 Woo was
sentenced 25 years to life in prison.
(SFC, 11/26/09, p.C2)
2006 May 11, The US FDA
approved the drug Chantix. It was developed by Pfizer to help
smokers kick their habit. By mid-2009 the FDA had received reports
of almost 100 suicides related to its use. Clinical trials had
failed to test the product on people with mental illness.
2006 Oct 17, Megan Meier
(b.1992) of Missouri committed suicide following a series of cruel
messages on the MySpace online social network. In 2008 Lori drew
(49) of Missouri was indicted for perpetrating an online hoax, which
led to Meier’s suicide. Drew was convicted on Nov 26 of only three
minor offenses for her role in the Internet hoax. The federal jury
could not reach a verdict on the main charge against 49-year-old
Lori Drew, conspiracy, and rejected three other felony counts of
accessing computers without authorization to inflict emotional harm.
A final decision on the verdicts was still pending in 2009.
5/16/08, p.A4)(AP, 11/27/08)(Econ, 7/11/09, p.232)
2008 Jun 28, Ruslana Korshunova
(20), a European Vogue cover model, fell to her death from her
Manhattan apartment building in an apparent suicide. She was
originally from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
2008 Jun 29, In Germany Bettina
Schardt (79) committed suicide using a formula of antimalarial drugs
tranquilizers provided by Dr. Roger Kusch. She did not want to move
into a nursing home and asked Mr. Kusch for a way out.
2008 Nov 12, A Sidney court
sentenced an Australian woman to 22 months periodic detention for
assisting in the suicide of her longtime partner, an Alzheimer's
sufferer who had been rejected for a legal euthanasia in
2008 Nov 19, In Miami, Florida,
police arrived to find Abraham Biggs (19) dead in his father's bed
12 hours after the Broward College student first declared on a Web
site that he hated himself and planned to die. It was only then that
the Web feed stopped. Some users told investigators they did not
take him seriously because he had threatened suicide on the site
2008 Nov 21, Mario Ferreyra
(63), an ex-Argentine police commander, committed suicide in front
of rolling television cameras as he was about to be arrested for
alleged human rights violations during the country's dictatorship.
2008 Dec 2, In Switzerland Alex
Widmer (52), head of private banking at Julius Baer Holding AG,
(www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/05/europe/baer.php)(WSJ, 2/2/09, p.C4)
2008 Dec 3, Lynn Gilderdale
(31), who suffered from myalgic encephalomyelitis (aka chronic
fatigue syndrome), died in East Sussex with the assistance of her
mother, Kay Gilderdale. In 2010 a British jury cleared the mother of
2008 Dec 6, A Montana state
judge ruled that doctor assisted suicides are legal in the state.
(SSFC, 12/7/08, p.A4)
2008 Dec 10, British television
broadcast a documentary of the assisted suicide of Craig Ewert
(d.2006 at 59), a terminally ill American, as he died in
Switzerland. The documentary, “Right to Die?," was made by
Oscar-winning director John Zaritsky.
(SFC, 12/11/08, p.A2)
2008 In Europe an upward trend
in suicides began as the euro zone entered a recession. The term
“economic suicides" was soon adopted by media outlets to describe
(SFC, 8/15/12, p.A2)
2009 Feb 9, In northern Italy
Eluana Englaro (38) died at her clinic as the Italian Senate
discussed legislation clarifying the right to die. Englaro had been
in a vegetative state since a 1992 car accident and died after her
family cut off her food and water.
2009 Feb 10, In England William
Foxton (65), died from a single bullet wound to the head in the
southern port city of Southampton. He killed himself after losing
his life savings in an alleged $50 billion fraud run by Wall Street
financier Bernard Madoff. Foxton had served in the British Army and
more recently worked as a defense contractor in Afghanistan.
2009 Feb 20, Tamil Tiger rebel
pilots on a kamikaze mission crashed their planes in the Sri Lankan
capital, killing two people.
2009 Feb 27, Two members of the
Final Exit Network appeared in a Maryland court and waived an
extradition hearing on charges they aided the suicide of a
58-year-old Georgia man who suffered for years from cancer of the
throat and mouth.
2009 Apr 12, In Puerto Rico
Army Spc. Nokware Rosado Munoz (28) had been arguing with his
pregnant wife about his upcoming redeployment to Iraq before hanging
2010 Apr, In Switzerland a
police probe began after muddy, encrusted urns filled with human
ashes were discovered accidentally by divers near Zurich's
extravagantly wealthy "Gold Coast" only 5 miles (8 km) from the city
center. Speculation connected the urns to Dignitas, a Swiss group
that has helped hundreds of people, including Americans, Britons,
Germans and Frenchmen, take their lives in recent years. A probe
against Dignitas founder Ludwig A. Minelli in connection with the
urns was dropped July 28.
(AP, 4/28/10)(AP, 8/4/10)
2009 May 21, Linda Fleming
(66), a woman with late-stage pancreatic cancer, became the first
person to kill herself under Washington state's new assisted suicide
law, known as "death with dignity."
2009 May 23, Former South
Korean President Roh Moo-hyun (62) jumped to his death while hiking
in the mountains behind his rural home. His hard-won reputation as a
corruption fighter was tarnished by bribery allegations that drew in
his family and closest associates.
2009 Jun 15, In Indiana the
bodies of Dr. Philip Gabriele (44), an eye surgeon, and his wife,
Marcella (43), were found at his clinic in Elkhart. Suicide was
suspected as they were scheduled to surrender to authorities on
charges of performing unnecessary surgeries on patients and bilking
money from health insurers.
(SFC, 6/16/09, p.A4)
2009 Jul 10, In Switzerland
British conductor Edward Downes (b.1924) died with his wife Joan
(74) at an assisted suicide clinic. He was a longtime stalwart at
the Royal Opera and maestro of the first-ever performance at
Sydney's iconic Opera House.
2009 Jul 16, Jeffrey Locker
(52), a debt-ridden motivational speaker, was found strangled and
stabbed in his car in East Harlem, hours after he was seen buying
condoms. In 2011 jurors found Kenneth Minor guilty of helping Locker
(SFC, 3/4/11, p.A10)
2009 Jul 25, In Britain a new
poll was released showing solid support for the right to die. The
Royal College of Nursing said it was adopting a neutral stance on
the issue after its research showed nurses were divided. The British
Medical Association remained opposed.
2009 Aug 14, An Australian
judge ruled that Christian Rossiter (49), a quadriplegic man who
says he cannot "undertake any basic human functions," has the right
to direct a nursing home to stop feeding him and allow him to die.
(AP, 8/14/09)(SFC, 8/15/09, p.A2)
2009 Sep 12, William E.
Sparkman (51), a US census worker, was found bound with duct tape
and a rope around his neck near a cemetery in Clay County in a
remote patch of Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest. The word
"fed" was scrawled on his chest. The area where Sparkman was found
has a history of problems with prescription drug and methamphetamine
trading. State police later said evidence at the death scene
indicated that it was staged as a murder and that Sparkman had
(AP, 9/24/09)(SFC, 11/25/09, p.A4)
2009 Sep 14, France Telecom SA
summoned all 20,000 of its managers to a conference call in an
effort to respond to a string of 23 employee suicides that unions
blame partly on layoffs and restructuring at the telecommunications
2009 Sep 21, Christian Rossiter
(49) an Australian quadriplegic died, ending an existence he had
described as a "living hell." On Aug 14 he had won a landmark legal
battle to starve himself to death by refusing food.
2009 Sep 23, England's top
prosecutor unveiled new guidelines that could decriminalize many
forms of assisted suicide, saying that most people who help close
friends or family kill themselves aren't likely to face charges.
2009 Nov 19, In France South
Korean model Daul Kim (20), a fashion week regular in New York,
Milan and Paris, was been found hanged in her Paris apartment.
2009 More than 17,000 Indian
farmers committed suicide, a seven percent rise on the previous
year, according to new government figures released in 2011.
2010 Feb 11, British fashion
designer Alexander McQueen (40) was found dead at his London home.
McQueen received recognition from Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, when
she made him a Commander of the British Empire for his fashion
leadership. A Feb 17 coroner’s report gave the cause of the fashion
designer's death as asphyxiation and hanging.
(AP, 2/11/10)(AP, 2/17/10)
2010 Feb 25, Prosecutors in
England and Wales received fresh guidelines on assisted suicide that
reduce the likelihood of people facing criminal charges for helping
ailing loved ones to die.
2010 Apr, In Switzerland a
police probe began after muddy, encrusted urns filled with human
ashes were discovered accidentally by divers near Zurich's
extravagantly wealthy "Gold Coast" only 5 miles (8 km) from the city
center. Speculation connected the urns to Dignitas, a Swiss group
that has helped hundreds of people, including Americans, Britons,
Germans and Frenchmen, take their lives in recent years.
2010 May 12, In South Korea
there were two separate cases of suspected group suicide. 4 women
and one man — all in their 20s and 30s — were found dead inside a
parked car in Hwaseong. 2 of the five left suicide notes. 3 men were
found dead hours later in Chuncheon, about 85 km (50 miles) east of
2010 May 26, In Hong Kong a
10th employee of iPhone-maker Foxconn jumped to his death, just
hours after the company's chairman promised to make life better for
employees at the sprawling production site in southern China.
2010 Jun 8, China's Xinhua news
agency said iPhone maker Foxconn International Holdings will no
longer pay compensation to families of employees who kill themselves
to discourage further suicides.
2010 Jun 24, Germany's Supreme
Court issued a landmark ruling that an assisted suicide can not be
punished if it is carried out based on a patient's prior request.
2010 Sep 19, Deputies searched
a wide swath of Southern California for a break-off religious sect
of 13 people that included children as young as three and left
behind letters indicating they were awaiting an apocalyptic event
and would soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven. The
group of El Salvadoran immigrants, described as "cult-like" by
sheriff's officials, was led by Reyna Marisol Chicas, a 32-year-old
woman from Palmdale.
2010 Sep 19, In southwestern
Germany a female attorney (41) went on a shooting spree in Loerrach
killing her 5-year-old son, her estranged husband and a male nurse
before killing herself in an exchange of fire with police.
2010 Sep 22, Rutgers Univ.
freshman Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George
Washington Bridge. On Sep 19 his roommate and another student had
used a webcam to view Clementi having sex with another man. Roommate
Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei were soon charged with invasion of
privacy. On April 20, 2011, Ravi was charged with a hate crime and
accused of deleting tweets and texts to cover his tracks. On May 21,
2012, Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 3 years probation.
Ravi was also ordered to get counseling and to pay $10,000 toward a
program to help victims of bias crimes.
(SFC, 4/21/11, p.A9)(SFC, 2/25/12, p.A8)(SFC,
2010 Sep 22, In NYC Cesar
Mercado (34), who had worked at the Nicaraguan consulate as acting
consul general, was found dead in his apartment in the Bronx by the
driver who went to pick him up to attend the meeting. On Oct 29 a
medical examiner’s report said he had committed suicide.
(AP, 9/24/10)(AP, 10/29/10)
2010 Nov 15, In South Korea a
15-year-old boy committed suicide after killing his mother in a
fight over Internet games.
2010 Dec 22, In Tunisia a
24-year-old jobless protester was electrocuted after announcing he
wanted to end his life and mounting a high-voltage electricity pole
in the town of Sidi Bouzid. Police fired tear gas at stone-throwing
protesters after simmering tensions linked to unemployment erupted
after the demonstrator committed suicide.
2010 In India over 200 poor,
debt-ridden residents of Andhra Pradesh killed themselves late this
year following over indebtedness to microfinance companies.
(SFC, 2/25/12, p.A4)
2011 Jan 4, Alireza Pahlavi
(44), the former shah of Iran's youngest son, died of an apparently
self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Boston. He was the
second of the four children of the late Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi
and former Empress Farah Pahlavi to die in exile. His sister Leila
was found dead of a drug overdose in 2001.
2011 Jan 24, In Argentina a
woman (30) threw herself from the 23rd story of a Buenos Aires hotel
Monday and survived after landing on the roof of a taxi.
2011 Jan 24, A Sudanese man,
Al-Amin Musa Al-Amin (25), who was hospitalized on Jan 21 after
setting himself on fire in a suburb of Khartoum, died from his
2011 Jan 27, In northwest India
police said an American man, Jeff Canabel (72), has died after
setting himself on fire in an abandoned Buddhist center in Rajasthan
state, leaving a cryptic suicide note that blamed his death on
"cruel incidents" in his homeland and India.
2011 Feb 8, In the Philippines
retired Gen. Angelo Reyes (65) apparently committed suicide at his
mother's grave. Reyes, who headed the military from 2001 to 2003,
was at the center of a congressional probe into one of the biggest
corruption scandals to have hit the Philippine armed forces.
2011 Mar 7, India's Supreme
Court ruled that in rare cases a terminally ill patient can be
removed from life support, a major shift in a country where such
acts have long been illegal. It rejected, however, a plea to end the
life of a woman who was brain damaged more than 30 years ago.
2011 Mar 15, Minnesota nurse
William Melchert-Dinkel (b.1962) was convicted of two counts of
encouraging suicide while he watched voyeuristically on a webcam. A
judge found that he had intentionally advised two people to take
their own lives. In 2014 the Minnesota Supreme Court struck down a
section of the state’s assisted suicide law that makes it a crime to
encourage someone to commit suicide. It remained a crime to assist
in someone’s suicide.
2011 Mar 17, In southern
California Huy Pham (29) jumped off roof of City Hall in Costa Mesa
at 3:20 pm and was pronounced dead at the scene. The maintenance
worker jumped to his death an hour after he was called in to get his
layoff notice. He was on a list of more than 200 people, nearly half
of the city's workforce, targeted for layoffs in a drastic move to
plug a $15 million budget hole.
2011 Mar 19, In Mexico Arturo
Jose Iniguez (26), a Texas Cameron County Assistant District
Attorney, was found dead in Matamoros. Autopsy results later showed
he had killed himself by ingesting poison.
2011 Mar 17, Phuntsog (20), a
Tibetan monk at the Kirti monastery in China’s Sichuan province,
died one day after he set himself on fire in an anti-government
protest. He was beaten and kicked by police, prompting hundreds of
monks and others to rally.
2011 Apr 7, In South Korea a
mathematics student (19) at a prestigious engineering college jumped
to his death from a high-rise apartment one day after meeting the
school psychiatrist. He was distressed over low grades. Three other
students have killed themselves since January at the Korea Advanced
Institute of Science and Technology.
2011 Apr 16, In Oak Harbor,
Ohio, deputies found the bodies of Alan Atwater (31), his wife Dawn
(30), and their 3 children, ages 1-4, all dead with gunshot wounds.
Atwater had just called 911 to say he had killed his wife and 3
children and was getting ready to kill himself.
(SFC, 4/16/11, p.A10)
2011 May 18, An Afghan detainee
at the Guantanamo Bay prison died in an apparent suicide. The
prisoner, known only by the name Inayatullah, had been held without
charge at Guantanamo since September 2007. The military said he was
an admitted planner for al Qaida terrorist operations, and
acknowledged facilitating the movement of foreign fighters.
Inayatullah had twice before tried to kill himself at the US base
and had a long-term mental illness that predated his time in
(AP, 5/18/11)(AP, 5/19/11)
2011 Jun 2, South Korea police
found the bodies of two men and two women in their 20s in a parked
van in Seongju, about 190 miles (300 km) southeast of Seoul. A
suicide note was found.
2011 Jun 3, Jack Kevorkian
(83), crusader for legalizing physician-assisted suicide, died at a
hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.
(SFC, 6/4/11, p.A5)
2011 Oct 28, India’s government
said the rate of suicides in the country is increasing and that more
than 15 people kill themselves every hour.
(SFC, 10/29/11, p.A2)
2011 Nov 12, In South Africa
renowned cricket writer Peter Roebuck (55) was about to be detained
over the alleged sexual assault of a Zimbabwean man when he plunged
to his death.
2012 Jan 8, In China a monk
named Sopa (42) died after drinking kerosene and throwing it over
his body. His body exploded in pieces before police took it away in
Dari county in Qinghai province. Xinhua News Agency identified the
dead monk as Nyage Sonamdrugyu. The reason for the discrepancy in
identification was not known.
2012 Jan 11, A local official
in the Tunisian city of Sfax said a middle-aged woman has died after
setting herself on fire, the fourth Tunisian case of self-immolation
in the last week. The woman reportedly had a history of mental
2012 Jan 14, In southwest China
a Tibetan set himself on fire and police fired on hundreds of
locals, possibly killing one, as they attempted to rescue the burned
body from officials near the restive Kirti monastery in Sichuan
province's Aba county. This was the 16th self-immolation attempt in
Tibetan areas inside a year and the fourth in nine days
2012 Jan 27, A paralyzed
British man who wants to die won the first round in his legal
battle, when the High Court ruled his lawyers won't be prosecuted if
they seek out experts to help him commit suicide.
2012 Feb 11, In China Tenzin
Choedron (Choedon), an 18-year-old nun, set herself on fire in
Sichuan province and later died, the latest in a spate of such
incidents among ethnic Tibetans protesting Beijing's rule.
2012 Feb 6, Georgia’s top court
struck down a state law that restricted assisted suicides.
(SFC, 2/7/12, p.A9)
2012 Feb 21, The Times of India
said Tsutomi Omori (49), managing director of Olympus Medical
Systems in India, was found hanging from iron railings within his
luxury apartment complex in Delhi's satellite city of Gurgaon.
Police said Omori appeared to have committed suicide late on Feb 19.
2012 Mar 3, In northwestern
China a Tibetan teenager died after setting herself on fire. The
girl, said to be aged between 16 and 19 years old, set herself
alight at a vegetable market in Maqu county in Gansu province.
2012 Mar 4, In China a widowed
mother of four died after setting herself on fire near the restive
Kirti monastery in Aba county in Sichuan province, taking to at
least 25 the number of such incidents in Tibetan-inhabited areas in
the past year.
2012 Mar 10, In southwest China
a Tibetan teenager set himself on fire and died on the sensitive
anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile in 1959. The
18-year-old monk was from the restive Kirti Monastery and
self-immolated in Aba town in Sichuan province.
2012 Mar 15, In Morocco a
minister in the Islamist government called for a change to a law
allowing a rapist to marry his victim after a teenager forced into
such a union committed suicide. Amina al-Filali (16) drank rat
poison last week in Larache, near Tangiers in the north, after being
forced to marry the man who raped her.
2012 Mar 17, In China Tibetan
farmer Sonam Thargyal (44) fastened cotton padding to his body and
doused himself with kerosene before setting himself on fire in
Tongren, a monastery town in western China's Qinghai province. He
had been close friends with a monk who survived a self-immolation
attempt on March 14, also in Tongren. The monk, Jamyang Palden, was
believed to be alive but critically injured.
2012 Mar 17, In Taiwan Lin
Mei-heng (31) posted messages on Facebook saying she wanted to take
her life after growing suspicious that her boyfriend was having an
affair. 9 of her friends attempted to dissuade her from taking her
life, but none alerted the police. She was found dead the following
day by her boyfriend at her flat in a suburb of Taipei.
2012 Mar 24, In Pakistan Kamran
Khan (13), who was top of his class four years running in the
northwestern town of Shabqadar, doused himself in kerosene after an
argument with his mother over a new uniform. He suffered more than
50% burns and died five days later.
2012 Mar 27, Swiss authorities
said five out of every 1,000 deaths in Switzerland now involve
assisted suicide, with women more likely to die this way than men.
2012 Mar 29, In Pennsylvania
the bodies of Charles (81) and Adrienne Snelling (81) were found in
their home in Trexlertown. Charles killed his wife and himself. He
had written in the NY Times last December about his love for his
(SFC, 3/31/12, p.A5)
2012 Apr 4, A Greek retiree
(77) shot himself dead on central Syntagma Square in Athens during
morning rush hour, leaving a note police said linked his suicide
with the country's acute financial woes. Greece has seen an increase
in suicides over the past two years of economic hardship.
2013 Apr 7, In Halifax, Canada,
Rehtaeh Parsons (17) died after being removed from life support
following a suicide attempt by hanging on April 4. She had killed
herself after a photo of her allegedly being sexually assaulted in
Nov, 2011, circulated online. In August one man (18) was charged
with two counts of distributing child pornography and the second man
(18) was charged with making child pornography and distributing it.
2012 May 9, Argentina's senate
overwhelmingly approved a "dignified death" law giving terminally
ill patients and their families more power to make end-of-life
decisions. The law passed by a vote of 55 to zero, with 17 senators
declaring themselves absent. It passed the lower house last year.
2012 May 15, In Florida Tonya
Thomas (33) fatally shot her four children, ages 12-17, and then
killed herself in Port St. John.
(SFC, 5/16/12, p.A6)
2012 Jun 8, Pentagon
statistics showed that 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the
first 155 days of the year far outdistance the US forces killed in
action in Afghanistan — about 50 percent more.
2012 Jun 15, A British Columbia
Supreme Court justice ruled that federal laws banning assisted
suicide are unconstitutional because they discriminate against
severely ill patients.
(SFC, 7/14/12, p.A2)(http://tinyurl.com/6v2hh3l)
2012 Jun 28, In Arizona Michael
Martin (53) collapsed and died in court after a jury convicted him
of burning down his $3.5 million mansion. An autopsy report found
that he had committed suicide by taking cyanide.
(SFC, 6/29/12, p.A10)(SFC, 7/28/12, p.A6)
2012 Aug 16, British High Court
judges dismissed a legal plea by Tony Nicklinson (58) for the right
to die, unanimously ruling that it would be wrong to depart from a
precedent that equates voluntary euthanasia with murder. Nicklinson
had locked-in syndrome after suffering a stroke on a business trip
to Athens in 2005. He died at his home in Melksham on Aug 22 after
2012 Aug 31, In New Jersey
ex-Marine Terence Tyler (23) opened fire with a hand gun and an
assault rifle at a supermarket in Old Bridge Township and killed 2
co-workers before killing himself.
(SFC, 9/1/12, p.A1)
2012 Sep 2, In Gaza Ehab Abu
al-Nada (17) died four days after setting himself alight in
desperation over financial problems.
2012 Oct 10, In Canada Amanda
Michelle Todd (b.1996) committed suicide at her home in Port
Coquitlam, British Columbia. Prior to her death, Todd had posted a
video on YouTube in which she used a series of flash cards to tell
her experience of being blackmailed, bullied and physically
assaulted. A stranger had convinced Todd to bare her breasts on
camera. The individual later blackmailed her with threats to expose
the topless photo to her friends unless she gave a "show". On April
17 Canadian police confirmed an arrest has been made in the
Netherlands in the case.
2012 Dec 14, In Belgium twin
45-year-old men, whose names were not been made public, were legally
put to death by lethal injection at the Brussels University Hospital
in Jette. They were euthanized by their doctor after realizing they
were going blind and would be unable to see each other ever again.
2013 Jan 23, A new report said
irresponsible lending and intimidating debt collectors are pushing
thousands of people in Britain into depression and suicide. Separate
data showed more people are taking their own lives.
2013 Mar 18, In Florida college
student James Oliver Seevakumaran (30) put a bullet in his head as
police closed in. He had two guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition
and a backpack filled with explosives. He had pulled a dorm fire
alarm in an apparent attempt to force other students out into the
open so that he could slaughter them.
2013 Mar 20, A Bulgarian man,
Plamen Goranov (36), set himself on fire to protest poverty in his
country, becoming the 6th to do so in a month.
(SFC, 3/21/13, p.A2)(Econ, 3/23/13, p.60)
2013 Apr 29, Ireland's Supreme
Court ruled that a paralyzed Irish woman, who wants to die, cannot
legally commit suicide with her partner's help. Judges said
lawmakers could pass such a law to permit Marie Fleming (59) to die
at a time of her choosing, but no such statute existed yet.
2013 May 4, Belgian biochemist
Christian de Duve (95), Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine
(1974), died in an act of euthanasia.
2013 May 14, The European Court
of Human Rights found that Swiss laws on passive assisted suicide
are unclear and need revising to clarify when people are entitled to
a medical prescription for a lethal dose of drugs.
2013 May 16, In France, a dozen
students and a teacher saw a man kill himself with a shot in the
head at a private Catholic school. People expressed surprise that
the man gained access to the private La Rochefoucauld school, in the
heart of Paris' 7th district.
2013 May 22, In South Korea a
suicidal man, jumping to his death from the 11th floor of an
apartment building, killed a 5-year-old girl by falling on her as
she walked with her parents outside the building in Busan.
2013 Sep 9, In Florida Rebecca
Ann Sedwick (12) jumped to her death at a former cement business in
Lakeland. Investigators said she was despondent after others posted
hate messages to her online. On Oct 15 police said two girls of
Crystal Lake Middle School, ages 12 and 14, have been arrested for
(SFC, 9/13/13, p.A8)(SFC, 10/16/12, p.A12)
2013 Sep 24, In the Netherlands
the commission that vets cases of euthanasia said cases rose by 13%
in 2012 from 2011, the sixth consecutive year of increases. 4,188
cases were recorded in 2012.
2014 Jan 1, In South Korea a
man, calling for the president’s resignation, died after setting
himself on fire.
(Econ, 1/25/14, p.32)
2014 Jan 8, In Belgium Emiel
Pauwels (95), a European masters athletics champion, committed
euthanasia because he suffered from cancer. Pauwels held the over-90
60 meters European title he won last year.
2014 Jan 13, New Mexico Second
Judicial District Judge Nan Nash ruled that the ability of
competent, terminally ill patients to choose aid in dying is a
fundamental right under the state constitution.
(SFC, 1/15/14, p.A4)
2014 Jan 17, In Romania a
British diplomat (46) plummeted from the highest floor of a hotel in
the northern city of Baia Mare after leaving a farewell note.
2014 Feb 10, In the Netherlands
former health minister Els Borst (81), a woman who drafted the
nation's landmark 2002 law permitting euthanasia, was found dead in
her garage. Police ruled out natural causes.
2014 Feb 13, In Belgium
lawmakers voted to extend a decade-old law allowing euthanasia for
adults after months of often heated public debate. The draft bill
before Belgium's House of Representatives lifts all age restrictions
on the right of the incurably sick to end their lives.
2014 Mar 13, US border agent
Esteban Manzanares (32) committed suicide. He was accused of
kidnapping and assaulting an immigrant woman, her daughter and
another girl a day earlier in Mission, Texas.
(SFC, 3/15/14, p.A10)(AP, 3/17/14)
2014 Mar 17, In London fashion
designer L'Wren Scott, the girlfriend of Mick Jagger, died of an
apparent suicide. Her LS Fashion Ltd. company was heavily in debt at
the time it filed its most recent accounts.
2014 Mar 19, In India
Maharashtra government spokesman Satish Lalit said authorities have
confirmed 7 farmer suicides since Feb. 24. But Kishor Tiwari,
president of pro-farmer group Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, put the
toll much higher, at 32. The suicides followed freak hailstorms and
heavy unseasonal rains destroyed crops across much of a western
2014 Apr 17, In South Korea
Kang Min-gyu (52), the vice-principal of a South Korean high school
who accompanied hundreds of pupils on a ferry that capsized a day
earlier, committed suicide
2014 May 13, In Sweden Malik
Bendjelloul (36), the director of the acclaimed "Searching for Sugar
Man" documentary, committed suicide following bouts of depression.
2014 May 18, In China Liu
Zhanbin, the chief executive of Sanjing Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.,
jumped to his death. He was under investigation on suspicion of
2014 Jun 25, Britain's Supreme
Court said an assisted-suicide ban is incompatible with human
rights, but it dismissed the appeal from two severely disabled men
who argued the law should be changed to allow doctors to legally
2014 Aug 6, In Switzerland a
man arrested a day earlier, for suspected involvement in the theft
and leaking of a medical file on injured ex-Formula One champion
Michael Schumacher, was found hanged in his cell.
2014 Sep 15, In Belgium Frank
Van Den Bleeken, convicted of murder and rape and imprisoned for
almost three decades, was granted the right to die after doctors
agreed his psychological condition was incurable.
2014 Sep 18, In eastern China
an official hanged himself after being sacked following a corruption
probe into his presence at an extravagant banquet. Lou Xuequan (50)
had been Communist Party chief of a district in Nanjing city.
2014 Oct 12, It was reported
that Brittany Maynard (29), a newlywed diagnosed with a deadly brain
tumor, has tentatively selected Nov 1 as her date of death in
Oregon. The former California teacher moved to Oregon after learning
that California was not among the five US states that allowed access
to a lethal drug for terminal illness. Montana, New Mexico, Vermont
and Washington states also allowed access to the lethal drug.
(SFC, 10/13/14, p.A1)
2014 Oct 24, In Washington
state freshman Jaylen Fryberg (14) of Marysville-Pilchuck High
School north of Seattle shot five people, killing one girl and
critically wounding two other girls and two boys, both of whom were
his cousins. A cafeteria worker tried to stop him, at which point he
shot and killed himself.
(SFC, 10/25/14, p.A5)