Willem Jewett, a former state lawmaker from Vermont who had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, died using a prescription he obtained through a medical aid-in-dying law he helped pass nearly nine years earlier.
Jewett, 58, died Jan. 12 at his home in Ripton, Vermont, according to The Washington Post.
The VTDigger website reported: "Jewett chose to end his life using a prescription obtained through the law, with family and friends by his side.”
He had been diagnosed over a year ago with mucosal melanoma, a rare form of cancer.
The Washington Post noted that Vermont is among nine states and the District of Columbia where terminally ill patients can get prescriptions to end their life.
The law in Vermont, called Act 39, is also known as Vermont’s Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act.
Jewett, a Democrat who had once served as House majority leader in Vermont, retired from politics in 2017.
State Sen. Dick McCormack, who voted for the 2013 law, recalled Jewett’s commitment to Act 39 even as it faced opposition in the General Assembly.
“What I knew of Willem is that he was a compassionate guy, and had a libertarian streak as well. Willem had a great capacity for that when he saw something clearly,” McCormack, also a Democrat, told the Post.
Jewett is survived by his wife, Ellen Blackmer McKay, and two daughters from his first marriage.
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