Lecretia Seales, a Wellington woman with terminal cancer waging a legal battle for the right to end her own life, died overnight of natural causes.
The 42-year-old lawyer passed away at 12:35am, her family confirmed this morning.
Ms Seales had an untreatable brain tumour, and was fighting for the right to end her life through the means of assisted suicide without the risk of criminal charges.
Her family was advised of the outcome of her case only hours before.
"I am unable to express my feeling right now," her husband Matt Vickers wrote on Ms Seales' blog.
Last week High Court lawyer Justice David Collins reserved his decision on the case. The verdict will be made public at 3pm today.
Ms Seales' health deteriorated rapidly in the days following her appearance in the Wellington High Court last week, her family said.
She became increasingly paralysed through the week and was moved to hospital at the weekend, where Mr Vickers and her mother Shirley Seales were caring for her.
During the court case, Ms Seales' legal team argued denying her lawful access to physician-assisted death amounted to a breach of her rights and fundamental freedoms under the New Zealand Bill of Rights.
Her GP told the court she would be happy to assist Ms Seales to die if the court rules she would not be breaking the law.
The Crown argued that the court was being asked to go well beyond the Crimes Act's powers and to declare a new court-centred statutory regime.
Former Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, who Ms Seales worked with at law firm Chen & Palmer and the Law Commission, paid tribute to her.
"Lecretia has got to be one of finest human beings I have ever met. When her sickness struck she bore it with a fortitude and steadfastness that was amazing.
"Her idea to turn her experience into a law reform project was typical of her. What a brilliant idea. She always thinks of others first. She never complains. I salute her," he said.
3 News / NZN
source: newshub archive