June 3, 2011 / 1:32 PM / 6 years ago

Factbox: Facts about Michigan's "Dr. Death" Kevorkian

<p>Dr. Jack Kevorkian poses at the 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 29, 2010.Mario Anzuoni</p>

(Reuters) - Facts about Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist who became internationally known as "Dr. Death" as he helped at least 130 people kill themselves and campaigned for legal assisted suicide.

Kevorkian died early on Friday at age 83, his lawyer said.

* He was charged with first-degree murder after his first known assisted suicide, 54-year-old Janet Adkins, on June 4, 1990. Adkins, like most of his clients a middle-aged woman, died in the back of his rusty Volkswagen van after using Kevorkian's suicide machine. The charges were later dismissed.

* Kevorkian built that suicide machine, the "Mercitron," for $30. It consisted of bottles, chemicals and tubing to inject deadly drugs. He later used a mask attached to a carbon monoxide supply. Both systems let patients trigger their own deaths, avoiding the risk Kevorkian would be convicted of murder.

* After four failed prosecutions, Michigan authorities sent Kevorkian to prison for 10 to 25 years in 1999 on second-degree murder charges after he videotaped himself giving Thomas Youk, who had the debilitating Lou Gehrig's disease, a lethal cocktail of chemicals. The tape was aired on national television. Kevorkian served eight years in prison before being released in 2007.

* Well-read and known for using a wide range of quotations when arguing in court, Kevorkian taught himself Japanese and German while in high school during World War Two. He also painted and taught himself the flute, naming his debut album "A Very Still Life: The Kevorkian Suite."

* Although he appealed to leave prison early because of poor health, and said he had no long-range plans because he was so ill, Kevorkian said he did not consider himself a candidate for assisted suicide.

Writing by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Vicki Allen

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