Veteran actor Patrick Stewart has voiced his support for legalising assisted suicide after revealing his personal experience with the controversial issue in a new interview.

The wife of a close friend suffocated herself after a long battle with cancer, and now the X-Men star is calling for reform to British laws to allow terminally ill patients to choose the way they die.

Writing in Britain's The Mail On Sunday, Stewart explains, "At the age of 73, I have to consider the fact of my own mortality. I have come to see planning for death is simply another aspect of planning for life. It is part of a process of making sure the people you love will be taken care of, emotionally as well as practically."

Stewart adds he has written a 'living will' - a set of instructions to medical staff to withhold care from him in particular situations - but laments that U.K. law prevents him from including any instructions about assisted death should he become severely ill.

He adds, "I believe that choice at the end of life should include a change in the law to permit the option of assisted dying for people who are dying. Who is the current law protecting...? The current law is forcing people, who may simply want to end the unhappiness and indignity of the end of their lives, into an even worse situation. It is piling stress upon unimaginable distress."