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Newfoundland man who fought for province’s first doctor-assisted death dies

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—A man who tried to be the first person in Newfoundland and Labrador to receive a doctor-assisted death has passed away without the help of a doctor, according to his lawyer.

Kyle Rees said Thursday that his 67-year-old client recently died, but offered no other details other than to say he did not need the assistance of a doctor.

Rees had launched a legal fight to have medically assisted dying legislation brought to the province on behalf of the unidentified man, who was in the last stages of prostate cancer.

Two doctors had agreed to assist the man, but wanted a clear ruling that what they were doing was not illegal.

Rees had made a court application for the man, but it was withdrawn last month because the man’s physician was satisfied that he met the requirements of Bill C-14.

He said the court agreed that with the new federal legislation, there was no need for the court application to proceed.

Rees said last month that he expected his client would be granted an assisted death. The man was in great pain and had exhausted all avenues of potential treatment, Rees had said.

The Trudeau government has taken a restrictive approach in Bill C-14, which allows assisted dying only for consenting adults “in an advanced stage of irreversible decline” from a serious and “incurable” disease, illness or disability.