On January 18, 2019, Etienne Vermeersch died. He opted for euthanasia (after a long illness). He wrote shortly before his death: ‘ I die thanks to my life’s work. I do not want to serve as a role model. My death is not a statement. Every man has to make up for himself how he wants to die ‘.
He was one of the most important and influential philosophers that Flanders has ever known and, as ethicist pur sang, had a major impact on the social debate and legislation concerning euthanasia in Belgium. As Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Bio-ethics he defined euthanasia. Thanks to him today in Belgium people who suffer unbearably and ask for it, can make use of euthanasia. Wim Distelmans about Etienne: “He was an integer man. Justice and solidarity were very important to him. He was always keen, but showed compassion at the same time. People knew him as a ‘ tough debater ‘, but actually he was very gentle. We have given a lot of lectures and nominations together, and each time it was said that people came to him with an opinion or problems. He always had a listening ear. He was very popular with the public. He was therefore someone who always said what he thought, but always substantiated with arguments. ” Etienne received the LEIFtime Achievement Award 2016 for his dedication.