The singer, Tina Turner, who died last week admitted she had considered assisted suicide in 2016 after her cancer diagnosis but changed her mind after her husband offered her one of his kidneys.
The legendary singer died at the age of 83 in her home in Switzerland, a jurisdiction where assisted suicide is legal. Turner revealed in her memoir that, in 2016, she seriously considered taking her own life by assisted suicide after she had been diagnosed with intestinal cancer and found her kidneys were failing. She even signed up to Exit, an organisation that facilitates the process.
However, she changed her mind after her husband offered her his kidney.
In her memoir, she wrote “By December 2016, my kidneys were at a new low of 20 per cent and plunging rapidly. And I faced two choices: either regular dialysis or a kidney transplant.”
“It wasn’t my idea of life. But the toxins in my body had started taking over. I couldn’t eat. I was surviving, but not living.”
“I began to think about death. If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that. It was OK. When it’s time, it’s really time. I didn’t mind the thought of dying, but I was concerned about how I would go.”
Turner described how she signed up for Exit and it was at this point that her husband, Erwin Bach, made his feelings clear.
“He said that he wanted to give me one of his kidneys. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer.”
“I think that’s when the idea of my death became a reality for Erwin”, she wrote. “He was very emotional about not wanting to lose me, not wanting me to leave. He said he didn’t want another woman, or another life; we were happy and he’d do anything to keep us together”.
“Then he shocked me. He said that he wanted to give me one of his kidneys. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer. But because I love him, my first response was to try to talk him out of taking such a serious and irreversible step.”
Erwin donated a kidney to his wife in 2017 allowing her to live for another six years.
Recent figures from December 2020 show that the number of assisted suicides has continued to increase annually, from 187 cases in 2003 to 1,009 cases in 2017 and 1,176 cases in 2018. This represents a more than 16% increase from 2017 to 2018 and around a 529% increase in the fourteen years since 2003.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “As this case makes clear, those considering ending their lives by assisted suicide need assistance to live, not to die. Tina Turner’s husband loved his wife and was brave enough to offer this assistance in a radical way so that she could live a few more years.”