Tony Nicklinson found living with locked-in syndrome so difficult that he petitioned Britain's High Court to overturn his country's ban on euthanasia. Last week, the court rejected his request, a decision that Nicklinson said had left him "devastated and heartbroken." The 58-year-old died at home today of pneumonia, according to his family. Nicklinson was a former corporate manager and rugby player who suffered a stroke in 2005 that left him unable to speak or move below his neck.
He required constant care and communicated mostly by blinking, although his mind had remained unaffected and his condition was not terminal. In January, he asked the High Court to declare that any doctor who killed him with his consent would not be charged with murder. Nicklinson had argued that British law violated his right to "private and family life" as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, on the grounds that being able to choose how to die is a matter of personal autonomy. He had previously described his life as "a living nightmare." (Read more locked-in syndrome stories.)