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Canadian euthanasia advocate dies at 50

Feb. 3, 2013 at 10:45 AM

MONTREAL, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A Quebec woman in the process of challenging Canada's law against assisted suicide has died after struggling with Lou Gehrig's disease, her family said.

Ginette Leblanc died Saturday at the age of 50 following a stroke she suffered Monday, The (Montreal) Gazette reported.

She was scheduled to appear in Quebec Superior Court in March to challenge Canada's law banning assisted suicide. The law is punishable by a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.

"Today, she is gone. And she is well," Claude Desharnais, Leblanc's husband, told Radio Canada. "There was a lot of suffering before she passed away. Great suffering for five days."

Leblanc's lawyer, Rene Duval, said due to Leblanc's death, the case is now closed, QMI Agency reported.

Duval told QMI his client was "courageous, determined, but who couldn't complete her legal battle. She died with dignity."

Amyotrophic lateral disease, which causes a shutting down of the body's systems, is named for the baseball player who died of it in 1941.

Leblanc's death came just weeks after a special committee studying suicide recommended the Quebec government allow medical assisted suicide for patients in "very specific situations."

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