French man dies in Switzerland after fight for euthanasia at home

FILE PHOTO: Alain Cocq, suffering from a degenerative disease that has no treatment, wants to die with dignity
·2 min read

PARIS (Reuters) - A French man who fought for years for the right to euthanasia at home has died in a medically assisted suicide in Switzerland at the age of 58, friends and euthanasia activists said on Tuesday.

Alain Cocq, who for decades had suffered a painful and incurable degenerative disease, died on Tuesday in a hospital in Berne, Switzerland, his legal representative Sophie Medjeberg said on her Facebook page.

"Alain Cocq died this morning... according to his desire, in dignity ...finally rest in peace Alain," she said.

Jean-Luc Romero, president of the French Association for the Right to Die with Dignity, said in a video statement on Twitter that Cocq was a fighter who loved life, but that because of constant pain and being unable to take care of himself, he had wanted to die with the help of doctors.

"We thank him for transforming his individual fight into a collective fight, so that we finally would have an end-of-life law, so in the future French people no longer need to flee to a foreign country to die in the way they want," Romero said.

France's neighbours Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands have adopted laws that allow medically assisted dying in some cases. France has resisted that step, in part under pressure from the Catholic church.

Cocq had unsuccessfully appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron to be allowed euthanasia at home. Last autumn, he twice tried to die by exercising his right under French law to cease being fed and given medical care, but had to give up due to intense pain.

In August 2020, before his first attempt, Cocq told Reuters from his hospital bed - where he was fed by a drip and connected to a colostomy bag - that he experienced constant pain.

"It's reached a stage where it's no longer tolerable," he said. "So I'm saying stop."

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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