Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

‘Dr. Death’ Jack Kevorkian Dies at 83

“Dr. Death” has finally lived up to his name. Jack Kevorkian, who has spent decades campaigning for the legalization of euthanasia, has died at 83. Kevorkian, who expired — unassisted — in a Detroit hospital, served eight years in prison and was arrested multiple times for helping more than 130 patients commit suicide between 1990 and 2000. His methods, according to the Washington Post: “Injections, carbon monoxide and his infamous suicide machine, built from scraps for $30.”

Kevorkian also gained notoriety for using the words “final solution” in a 1999 Michigan trial of administering a fatal injection. According to trial coverage in Northern California mag JWeekly, “This is the man who sought to mount an exhibition featuring paintings by none other than Adolf Hitler. Kevorkian has conducted experiments that evoke memories of the infamous Nazi doctors.” Ironically, the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit was labeled “Nazis” by Kevorkian’s half-Jewish lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, “for the unspeakable atrocity of stating that assisted suicide went against the Torah.” Kevorkian was convicted and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison in that case, according to Frontline.

As the Forward reported last year, Kevorkian was the subject of an HBO film, “You Don’t Know Jack,” by Jewish director Barry Levinson. At the time, Levinson said he hoped the film will put assisted suicide back in the national dialogue. “If nothing else. It should be up for discussion, as opposed to everyone being afraid to talk about it,” he said.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.