Writers who have recently died:

Swedish writer Börge Hellström died on 17th February aged 59; he was best known as one half of the writing duo Roslund & Hellström...Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna died on 16th February aged 98; he is best known for his children's books, his most notable creation is Miffy (Nijntje in the original Dutch)...English-Irish poet Tom Raworth died on 8th February aged 78, he was a key figure in the British Poetry Revival....Canadian novelist Richard B. Wright died on 7th February aged 79, he is best known for his award winning novel Clara Callan (2001)...American poet Thomas Lux died on 5th February aged 70...Pakistani novelist Bano Qudsia died on 4th February aged 88, her best known work is Raja Gidh (1981)...Albanian poet and writer Dritëro Agolli died on 3rd February aged 85...African-American novelist William Melvin Kelley died on 1st February aged 79; he is best known for his debut novel, A Different Drummer, published in 1962...Nigerian novelist Buchi Emecheta died on 25th January aged 72, her best known novels include The Bride Price (1976) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979)...British author Douglas Reeman / Alexander Kent died on 23rd January aged 92 he wrote historical fiction about the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars....Award winning Dutch writer and poet Robert Anker died on 20th January aged 70...Jamaican novelist Peter Abrahams died on 18th January aged 97...South Korean novelist Jung Mikyung died 18th January aged 56...English children's author and illustrator Babette Cole died on 15th January aged 66; her books include Princess Smartypants (1986) and Prince Cinders (1987)...Italian author Giulio Angioni died on 12th January aged 77...American author of The Exorcist (1971), William Peter Blatty, died on 12th January aged 89...

Ramón Sampedro (1943-1998)

Death: 12th January 1998
Location:  Cementerio Parroquial de Santa Marina de Xuño, Galicia, Spain
Cause of death: Assisted Suicide
Photos taken by: DeadGoodBooks

Buy books by Ramón Sampedro  

Spanish fisherman and writer. He became a quadriplegic at the age of 25, following a diving accident, and fought for his right to an assisted suicide for the next 29 years.
As a young man he had jumped into the sea from rocks near his home, a fishing village in the northern Spanish region of Galicia. Misjudging the water's depth, he struck his head on the bottom. He sustained a complete spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

Ramon tried Spain's lower courts, its higher courts, even the European Commission on Human Rights in Strasbourg to end his life. His argument hinged on the fact that he was sure of his decision to die. However, owing to his paralysis, he was physically unable to commit suicide without help. He argued that suicide was a right that he was being denied, and he sought legal advice concerning his right to receive assistance to end his life, first in the courts of Spain, where his case attracted country-wide attention. Eventually, his fight became known worldwide.

Sampedro died on 12 January 1998, from potassium cyanide poisoning. He divided the tasks required for his suicide into small enough pieces that no single person could be convicted of assisted suicide. Several days later, a close friend of Ramón, Ramona Maneiro, was arrested and charged with assisting his suicide but was released due to lack of evidence. No further charges were ever filed in connection with Ramón's death.
Seven years later, after the statute of limitations had expired, Maneiro, speaking on a Spanish talk show, admitted to providing Sampedro with a cyanide-laced drink and a straw. She said "I did it for love." She also said she had turned on the video camera that recorded Ramón's last words before he drank the poison and that she was in the room, behind the camera.
Sampedro wrote a book before he died titled Cartas Desde El Infierno / Letters from Hell. It includes a collection of poems, short essays, and reflections on life. 
The story of Sampedro's life and death was made into a film, Mar adentro / The Sea Inside (2004), in which he was portrayed by Javier Bardem. The movie drew international attention and won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 77th Academy Awards.

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