Stewart Supports Assisted Dying Campaign

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February 21, 2011 | 4:25am EST

Sir Patrick Stewart is backing a campaign calling for a change in U.K. law over the right to assisted dying.
The X-Men star wants those who are terminally ill but mentally competent to be legally allowed to die at their request.

Stewart has joined Atonement author Ian McEwan and England cricket ace Chris Broad as a patron for the Dignity In Dying cause.

He says, “We have no control over how we arrive in the world but at the end of a life we should have control over how we leave it.”

And McEwan, who began campaigning after his friend Dr Ann McPherson fell terminally ill with pancreatic cancer, adds, “People who have a definite terminal illness and who are mentally competent and who want to be able to die and to do so on their own terms should be able to do so without criminalising the people around them.

“There is a lot of unnecessary suffering caused by people either having to leave their homeland to go and die or people having to criminalise near family and friends. The case seems to be quite overwhelming.

“The issue is not really of death but of how you live out that last chapter, those last sentences. To do it calmly with all the people around you that have mattered and you love in familiar surroundings should be a wonderful thing – not to be writhing on a hospital bed or sitting glumly several hundred miles away from home.”