Victor Escobar decided to die and to do so publicly, becoming one of the first Latin Americans to end their life without suffering from a terminal disease, under a ground-breaking court ruling in Colombia.
Hours before dying on Friday, 60-year-old Escobar celebrated what he called victory in his two-year battle with a lung ailment that left him unable to breathe on his own.
“Little by little, it becomes everyone’s turn. So I do not say goodbye but rather, see you soon. And little by little we will end up with God,” Escobar, who is a practicing Catholic, said in a video sent to news organizations.
He died in the city of Cali with doctors present, his lawyer said on Twitter.
The last footage of him alive shows him smiling and surrounded by family. He was sedated and then given a lethal injection.
Colombia depenalized assisted death in 1997, and in July 2021 a high court expanded this “right to dignified death” to those not suffering from a terminal illness.
It is the first Latin American country to take the step and one of the few in the world, and did so despite being mostly Roman Catholic. The church categorically opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide.
“I was already feeling sick. I felt like my lungs did not obey me,” Escobar told AFP in October as he waged the final chapter of his legal battle.