British author Sir Terry Pratchett broke down in tears watching a man take his own life as part of his controversial film about assisted suicide.
The writer, an outspoken campaigner for the legalisation of euthanasia in the U.K., met a terminally ill man who arranged his own death, as part of TV documentary Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die, which aired in the U.K. on Monday (13Jun11).
Peter Smedley, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, can be seen drinking a cocktail of drugs to end his life at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, with doctors and his wife Christine at his side in the compelling TV special.
An emotional Pratchett appears wiping away tears as the 71 year old coughs and splutters, before falling into a deep sleep and passing away.
The novelist later tells the camera, "This has been a happy event. We've seen a man die peacefully, more or less, in the arms of his wife. Quite quietly, so that we never were actually certain exactly when he passed away. And when one thinks of all the other ways a person can die and in what circumstances, that would count, as they say, as a result."
Pratchett, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and has been candid about his own assisted suicide plans, then reveals his fears for arranging his own death.
He adds, "I was in the presence of the bravest man I've ever met. I'm not certain that I could do that. I'm not certain that my hand wouldn't shake. But then I'm not certain what I would really do if I were really there.
"I want to stay around as long as I can to see assisted dying done properly in the U.K. When I die - and all men die - I would like to die out in the sunshine. I suppose sometimes the sun shines in Switzerland."