Stransham-Ford’s family welcomes ‘ground breaking’ ruling despite his death

A court yesterday granted the CT advocate his request to pass on with the help of a medical professional.

Robin Stransham-Ford died in the early hours of yesterday morning, succumbing to his prostate cancer.

CAPE TOWN - The family of the late Robin Stransham-Ford says they are deeply saddened by his death, but welcome a ground breaking ruling that would have allowed his assisted suicide.

The advocate died surrounded by relatives and caregivers on Thursday, just hours before the High Court in Pretoria granted his request to die with the help of a doctor, who would not face prosecution.

The 65-year-old suffered from terminal prostate cancer, and approached the court on Wednesday asking for an amendment to the law regarding assisted death without prosecution.

Stransham-Ford had only two weeks left to live.

He successfully asked the court to spare him what he said was an undignified death.

According to current law, doctors who help patients die could face jail time of up to 14 years.

LISTEN: Robert Stransham-Ford's primary caregiver speaks about his court bid to be able to legally end his life.

Meanwhile, the National Health Department, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and other organisations have confirmed they'll challenge the court's ruling.

The Ethics Institute of South Africa's Deon Rossouw says, "It's not necessarily that the lines between proponents and the opponents on this issue runs according to religious or other lines, it runs right across religious and philosophical lives."