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.