Bittany Maynard fulfilled her final wish Saturday, purposely ending her own life on her own schedule, activists close to her family confirmed Sunday night.
She was 29. She was diagnosed earlier this year with a fatal brain tumor — told the cancer likely would kill her in six months. But she had no intention, she said, of allowing the disease to control how she lived, or how she died.
Maynard had planned since spring — a bittersweet stretch packed with “bucket list” moments, seizures and excruciating headaches — to escape the final stages of her cancer on Saturday by drinking a lethal mixture of water, sedatives and respiratory-system depressants.
“Brittany suffered increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms,” according to a statement Sunday night from Sean Crowley, spokesman for Compassion & Choices, a national nonprofit working to expand end-of-life options.
“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,”
– the statement said.
An obituary also was posted to her website Sunday night, although friends have been posting Facebook farewells to Maynard since Saturday night.
“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,” the obituary reads. “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.