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Right to die cancer sufferer Brittany Maynard ends her life aged 29

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Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill cancer patient who caught the world's attention by publicly sharing her wish to end her life as part of a death with dignity campaign, has died.

The 29-year-old from San Francisco passed away at her home in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday 1 November surrounded by her loved ones after taking medication prescribed by a doctor

A spokesman told The Washington Post that she had died  “as she intended — peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones.”

The young woman said goodbye to her friends and family in a message on Facebook. "Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love," she wrote. "Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me… but would have taken so much more." 

"The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!"

Brittany and her husband Dan on their wedding day

Brittany and her husband Dan on their wedding day

Maynard was diagnosed with brain cancer in January this year after months of suffering debilitating headaches and by April she was told she had glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer. She was given just six months to live. 

Along with her husband Dan Diaz and her mother and stepfather, she moved from San Francisco to Oregon - one of the five US States with laws to help terminally ill people die (the other four are Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico) - in order to end her life peacefully and painlessly at a time of her choosing.

Maynard chose to publicly document her decision in a video and article on Compassion & Choices (a death with dignity organisation) last month which soon went viral, sparking a debate on euthanasia around the world. 

"After months of research my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion. There is no treatment that would save my life and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had left," Maynard explained at the time.

"Because the rest of my body is young and healthy I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind. I did not want this nightmare scenario for my family so I started researching death with dignity. I quickly decided that death with dignity was the best option for me and my family."

"I plan to be surrounded by my immediate family, which is my husband, my mother, my stepfather and my best friend, who is also a physician," she continued. "And I’ll die upstairs in my bedroom that I share with my husband, with my mother and my husband by my side, and pass peacefully with some music I like in the background.”

Brittany with her parents and husband Dan

Brittany with her parents and husband Dan on a bucket list trip to the Grand Canyon

Days before her chosen date to die on November 1, Maynard shared images of a trip to the Grand Canyon with her family. She said donations from members of the public had helped her dream holiday with husband Dan and mother Debbie come true. 

Before her diagnosis, Maynard had a passion for life and travelling, and spent her time seeing the world (including a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro) and running half-marathons.

Since she found out she had brain cancer, she continued to travel and arranged special trips with her loved ones, including a trip to Yellow Stone National Park with her husband Dan and a holiday to Alaska with her best friend.

"I hope to enjoy however many days I have left on this beautiful earth and spend as much of it outdoors as I can, surrounded by those I love," the newlywed said, in a message on her video (below). "I hope to pass in peace. The reason to consider life, and what's of value, is to make sure that you're not missing out. Seize the day. What's important to you? What do you care about? What matters? Pursue that. Forget the rest."

Brittany with her mother Debbie

Brittany with her mother Debbie

Only five American states - Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico — currently have laws to help terminally ill patients die, and the practise is illegal in the UK. Find out more about Brittany's campaign on The Brittany Fund or Compassion & Choices, or watch her original video below.

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