The Guardian reports that the man who took his appeal for legal permission for help in dying to the High Court in London has died. Having refused food since the verdict, he contracted pneumonia in his weakened state, and died around 10:00 o’clock this morning. There was some sign that he would appeal the verdict – a verdict which shook him to the very depths with sorrow and despair — but, having been sentenced by the verdict to intolerable imprisonment in his body, the existential crisis of being forced to go on living in misery, and his desire to be free, won out in the end. I am not surprised. As I said earlier, my wife Elizabeth said that, had she been turned down by Dignitas in Switzerland, she would have stopped eating on the very day she learned of the refusal. Yet she might have lived longer had the right to die been available in Canada. And so might Tony Nicklinson, if the judges had recognised his right to die.State coercion to live must be justified, and there is no obvious justification for it. All the arguments of substance are religious, and you must share the beliefs if they are to have any substance at all. But how can the law force people to die as their diseases dictate, if they do not force people to live with their diseases (but instead let them seek cures and remedies for them)? Simply saying that there is no precedent is not sufficient grounds for the continued enslavement of those who are dying. As Richard Dawkins said, they could simply have established a precedent. Yet Tony Nicklinson snatched his freedom from the hands of the High Court, and despite their myopia, escaped the clutches of the law that had let him down so badly. When the right to die movement has won a victory over the forces of patronising religious interference in the lives of others, Tony Nicklinson will be numbered amongst its heroes.