Man with motor neurone disease dies after removing own oxygen mask

A man with advanced motor neurone disease has died after removing the oxygen mask he relied on to breathe.

John King, 77, from Worcestershire, died on Thursday in a hospice, seven days after giving an interview to the BBC stating his intention.

He was diagnosed with the incurable disease 18 months ago and needed constant care.

In an interview with the BBC he said: “I think I’m at the right point in my life to make the decision. I have no issue with it at all.”

He said removing his mask did not constitute assisted suicide.

He said: “I’ve thought about this long enough.

“I live in this wheelchair. This is my life from the moment I’ve got out of bed in the morning.

“I have carers coming in to get me out of bed, shower me and dress me. It’s all these silly little things that make you just feel so useless that you get to a point of saying ‘what’s the point of still being alive’?”

But Mr King said he did not want a change in the law in favour of assisted dying as it “could make people vulnerable to pressure”.

The grandfather and father-of-two, from Sutton, near Tenbury Wells, said he had planned his funeral with the help of a local celebrant and did not want a “dour affair”, but a “celebration of his life”.

Mrs Elaine King said of her husband: “No-one can blame him whatsoever.

“I see him 24/7, and how he is now to how he used to be and how he suffers. I don’t have a problem.”

Noel Conway, 68, from Shropshire, who also has motor neurone disease, is campaigning for the right to die.

He was refused permission by the Supreme Court to challenge the law on assisted dying.

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