Terminally ill father-of-two who campaigned to change assisted dying law in the UK passes away at home aged 75 after battle with cancer, family say
- David Minns, 75, from Suffolk, was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2020
- His family paid tribute to ‘loving’ campaigner ‘who touched the lives of so many’
A terminally ill father who devoted his final months to tirelessly campaigning for a change in the law on assisted dying has passed away aged 75, his family have announced.
David Minns, who was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2020, died at home in Suffolk on February 13.
Mr Minns campaigned for laws to introduce medically assisted dying in the UK for those with terminal illnesses near the end of life. Assisted dying is currently illegal in England and Wales.
Paying tribute, his wife Sue and son Matthew, said he will be remembered as a ‘loving husband, father, grandfather, dear brother and keen sportsman who touched the lives of so many.’
David Minns, who was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2020, died at home in Suffolk on February 13
Mr Minns campaigned for laws to introduce medically assisted dying in the UK for those with terminal illnesses near the end of life
Mr Minns was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer, and an associated condition called amyloidosis in 2020 as his daughter Katie was dying of sarcoma, a soft tissue cancer. Since her death in 2021, he has spoken to newspapers and broadcasters, as well as MPs, about the need for a safe, compassionate assisted dying law for the UK.
A statement from his wife Sue and son Matthew said: ‘David will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, dear brother and keen sportsman who touched the lives of so many.
‘He was devoted to caring for his daughter Katie as she died, all the while dealing with his own diagnosis. He spent the past year fighting for an assisted dying law, knowing that any change would not come in time for him. As he said when meeting his MP, ‘I know this won’t happen for me. I’m doing it for you and your family’.
‘David died at home, as he wished, but his final hours, days and weeks were not what he wanted.
David was ‘keen sportsman’ who enjoyed running, rowing and other sports
‘He received excellent care and support from NHS and hospice services, but still he suffered, just 18 months after watching Katie die in terrible pain.’
They added: ‘We have been traumatised by the events leading up to David’s death and are determined to continue his fight. We are more certain than ever that the law on assisted dying absolutely must change, so that other terminally ill people can be given the option David was so cruelly denied.’
Ellie Ball, Deputy Director of Communications at Dignity in Dying, said: ‘We are deeply saddened by David’s death and extend our heartfelt condolences to Sue, Matthew and their loved ones.
‘It has been a privilege working with David to give his powerful words a platform, shining a light on the unbearable suffering that his family and many others have endured under the current law.
‘In his passionate yet gentle way, David spoke truth to power, exposing the cruelty and inequality of the UK’s ban on assisted dying and making a persuasive case for change.
‘He knew he would not personally benefit from his own campaigning, but he has helped bring us closer than ever before to a law that gives dying people like him and Katie the choice, compassion and protection that is sorely lacking at the moment.
‘David will be remembered fondly and we look forward to supporting his family to continue his legacy.’
In the last year, Mr Minns spoke with former Health Secretary and his own MP Matt Hancock.
Mr Hancock said: ‘I’m incredibly saddened to hear of David’s death. I had the pleasure of getting to know David – a constituent – through his passionate campaigning on assisted dying. David’s powerful testimony made me reflect on the question, ‘When death is imminent and the pain is insufferable, would I want the choice about how to die?’
‘David was both brave and inspirational. He was a fighter whose spirit will live on through this campaign.
‘My thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this difficult time.’
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