Dutch author J.J. Voskuil dies in euthanasia case

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch writer J.J. Voskuil has died in what his widow said was a case of euthanasia -- a practice which is legal in the Netherlands.

Voskuil, who gained literary fame in the Netherlands for his seven-volume novel ‘The Office’ (Het Bureau), died on May 1. He was 81 and had been suffering from an unspecified illness.

“My beloved husband chose a dignified end,” Lousje Voskuil-Haspers wrote in an obituary published in Dutch daily De Volkskrant on Monday.

The novel ‘The Office’ is based on Voskuil’s 30-year career at a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was aired on radio as a daily play in 2004.

The Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2002 but so-called mercy killing had long been an accepted practice among the Dutch and doctors avoided prosecution if they met certain conditions.

The number of Dutch euthanasia cases fell to 2,325, or 1.7 percent of all deaths in 2005, from 2.6 percent in 2001. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Keith Weir)