Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, said:
“We are incredibly saddened to hear of the death of our Patron Sir Chris Woodhead, who became a powerful voice for an assisted dying law in his last years. Sir Chris was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and later liver cancer and he faced both illnesses with his trademark no-nonsense courage.
“Only last month he wrote that ‘It seems to me obvious that, if the law were to be changed along the lines Lord Falconer is proposing, sufficient safeguards could be built in to protect the vulnerable. Equally, I cannot see how anybody can really believe that the state should decide the timing of my death. But we live and we die in a society… where the needs and the rights of those who could benefit from a change in the law are brushed to one side.’
“In our last conversation two weeks ago Sir Chris was looking forward to the upcoming debate in the Commons and was ready to fight for a change in the law if in his own words he ‘survived’ a further operation, showing his willingness to confront the stark reality of his situation. Unfortunately this was not to be the case and our condolences go out to his wife Christine, family and friends.”