February 22, 2024

Voluntary euthanasia advocate dies in Darwin

He was allegedly supplied with the barbiturate Nembutal.

Voluntary euthanasia advocate Martin Burgess has died in Darwin, after allegedly being supplied with the barbiturate Nembutal. Burgess, 71, was suffering from rectal cancer and had recently posted a video on YouTube describing his illness. Burgess petitioned viewers to send him a barbiturate with which he could end his life.

Burgess contacted Exit International founder Phillip Nitschke before he died.

“It’s a ridiculous situation where someone like Martin, who would have easily qualified for the NT law 18 years ago, and would have been able to go in and get help to die, has had to go through this,” Nitschke said. Police are currently investigating the incident, but are yet to confirm the cause of death.

Burgess was a federal candidate for the Voluntary Euthanasia party in the last Australian federal election, and had been a campaigner for euthanasia advocacy group, Exit International, for about 15 years before he was diagnosed with rectal cancer in November 2011. 

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Philip Nitschke