Terry Pratchett begins formal process to end his life

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012

Three and a half years ago, Terry Pratchett, the beloved author of the Discworld series, announced that he has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Now he's made an even more startling announcement.

Pratchett, who has campaigned in his native United Kingdom for the right of assisted suicide, has begun the formal process of assisted suicide in Switzerland, one of the few countries in the world to legalize euthanasia. Specifically, this would take place at Dignitas, a clinic that provides qualified doctors and nurses to assist with the patients' suicides.

Dignitas has sent Pratchett the paperwork he needs to sign to begin the assisted suicide process—but he has yet to sign it.

According to The Guardian,

"The only thing stopping me [signing them] is that I have made this film and I have a bloody book to finish," he said during a question-and-answer session following a screening at the Sheffield documentary festival Doc/Fest.

He said that he decided to start the process after making the film Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die, which shows the moment of death of a motor neurone sufferer, millionaire hotel owner Peter Smedley.

Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die airs tonight in the United Kingdom, which means the end could be nigh for our literary hero. But the The Guardian wrote that "According to Dignitas, 70% of people who sign the forms do not go through with taking their own lives."

We wish Pratchett the best, no matter what his decision is.