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A French woman who suffered from a debilitating disease took her life in Spain with the aid of a pro-euthanasia group.

The Spanish daily El Pais reported how Madeleine Z., 69, was helped by members of the Association for the Right to a Dignified Death.

Madeleine, who suffered from the incurable lateral amiotrophic sclerosis, gave an interview to the newspaper before she died explaining she did not want to become a burden on her son and his family.

She died last Friday (11 Jan 07) surrounded by two volunteers from the group.

Euthanasia is illegal in Spain and helping people to end their lives is also an offence. The government has failed to complete a promise to start a commission into the issue.

But it became a cause celebre in 2004 after the Oscar-winning film ‘The Sea Within’ focused attention on the case of Ramon Sampedro, the quadriplegic who campaigned to be able to end his own life. When all legal measures failed, he killed himself with the aid of a friend.

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