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Right-To-Die Grandmother Starved Herself To Death After U.K.'s Laws Left Her "No Alternative"

Jean Davies, 86, starved herself to death over five weeks because of the country's tight laws against assisted suicide.

Posted on October 19, 2014, at 10:47 p.m. ET

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Jean Davies, an 86-year-old grandmother in the UK, starved herself to death because, she said, she had "no alternative." Davies died in her home on Oct. 1, five weeks after she stopped eating.

She did not have a terminal illness, but suffered from chronic pain and other medical issues. Her four children and two grandchildren supported her decision to die.

"She had been talking about doing this for the last two or three years, if her health deteriorated," her daughter, Bronwen Davies, told the Daily Mail. "Although that's not to say we ever thought it would actually happen. ... Her quality of life was diminishing and eventually she was diagnosed with one chronic condition too many."

Davies reportedly stopped drinking water on Sept. 16, and was frustrated her death was not immediate but took another two weeks.

Four weeks into her fast, Davies told The Sunday Times, "It is hell. I can't tell you how hard it is. You wouldn't decide this unless you thought your life was going to be so bad. It is intolerable."

The 86-year-old, a longtime right-to-die advocate who published a book on the subject, Choice in Dying, in 1997, said she had no alternative apart from breaking the law or going to a clinic in Switzerland, but said, "I want to die in my own bed."

Voluntary euthanasia is legal in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, and in five states in the U.S.