Southfield-based attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who worked with Jack Kevorkian for many years, issued the following statement after Kevorkian's death Friday:
“Dr. Jack Kevorkian was a rare human being. He was an historic man.
It’s a rare human being who can single-handedly take on an entire society by the scruff of its neck and force it to focus on the suffering of other human beings.
It’s a rare human being who has the courage of his convictions and is strong enough to stand up against the never ending threats and attacks of the most powerful figures of our society.
It’s a rare human being who understands intellectually and emotionally the freedoms contained within our Constitution and the right of every human being to make decisions about their own lives consistent with the own conscience, and without the interference of government.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian didn’t seek out history, but he made history.
He was a physician who had an acute sense of compassion and a respect for the dignity of his patients.
He simply felt that it was the duty of every physician to alleviate suffering, and when the circumstance was such that there was no alternative, to help that patient to end their own suffering.
When politicians and churchmen and medical societies asserted their claim that only they could make decisions for suffering and dying people, Dr. Jack Kevorkian had the strength of his own conviction to risk his own freedom, and at times, his own life for the rights of his patients.
Jack was not a religious man, but ironically he embodied the spiritual ideal of sacrificing his own life out of love for the suffering.
Through his courage and determination, he shined a light on a right that we hold, and tens of thousands of patients are no longer abandoned to suffer until dead.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian was a client of mine who became a friend. We supported each other. We argued with each other and we laughed with each other.
We stood arm in arm together when it mattered most, and I will now cry alone for him. I will personally miss him. I am personally grateful to have known such a great man.
In every man’s life comes a wave, if taken at its crest, will lead to success. Jack Kevorkian and I rode a wave once together.
Even now he rides alone to a greater destiny.”