Sir Patrick Stewart believes people should be allowed the right to end their own lives.

The 'Star Trek' star has spoke out about his support of euthanasia -the practice of ending a life to relieve pain and suffering - and assisted suicide because of a recent story in the media about an actress who was driven to kill herself in a horrific way when she couldn't live with her illness anymore.

Former Bond girl Angela Scoular, 65, had bowel cancer and died after allegedly drinking acid last week, and the tragedy has motivated Patrick to speak out about his support for charity Dying With Dignity, which supports assisted suicide.

He told the Sunday Times newspaper: "This person was driven to an extreme situation of ending their own life in the most ghastly way.

"There's got to be an alternative when someone is suffering and ready to go. Everything that medicine can do to keep somebody alive doesn't automatically follow as the best option."

The 70-year-old actor also admitted he feels strongly about a person's right to die because he has health concerns of his own.

He explained: "To be trapped in a painful body, to lose those elements of communication, of sharing and to not be able to act terrifies me.

"I called my doctors in Los Angeles and they said come in. The doctor said, 'You have coronary heart disease, 85 per cent blockage.' Within 10 minutes I was put on a gurney with a woman walking alongside taking down details of next of kin.

"I see my doctors twice a year now, go through the whole test and it's always scary.

"I have a strong feeling that should the time come for me, having had no role in my birth I would like there to be a choice I might make about how I die."