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Author with dementia who campaigned for assisted dying ‘starved herself to death’

Wendy Mitchell
Wendy Mitchell left a note stating 'dementia is a cruel disease that plays tricks on your very existence' - Lorne Campbell/Guzelian

An author with dementia who campaigned for assisted dying to be legalised starved herself to death, a note posted online by her family has suggested.

Wendy Mitchell, 68, wrote several books about her diagnosis of early onset vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 58 in 2014.

In her third book, produced with the help of a co-writer, she discussed her preparations for palliative care.

Mitchell had been a supporter of assisted dying, calling it “kindness and release”.

A note shared online by her family on Thursday told fans that: “If you’re reading this, it means this has probably been posted by my daughters as I’ve sadly died.”

The note added that: “In the end, I died simply by deciding not to eat or drink any more.”

She continued: “The last cuppa tea…my final hug in a mug, the hardest thing to let go of, much harder than the food I never craved… This wasn’t decided on a whim of self pity as you’ll discover by reading on.

Dementia is a cruel disease that plays tricks on your very existence. I’ve always been a glass half full person, trying to turn the negatives of life around and creating positives, because that’s how I cope.”

Mitchell wrote about her support for assisted dying in her third book, One Last Thing: How To Live With The End In Mind, which will be published in paperback next week.

“To have no autonomy, no independence, to be totally reliant on others for when and how I do things, is not the life today’s Wendy wants for future Wendy,” she wrote.

She referenced the book in her note published on Thursday, writing: “For those that have read my book, One Last Thing, you will understand why I feel so strongly about assisted dying.

“The only legal choice we shouldn’t have in life is when to be born; for everything else, we, as humans, should have a choice; a choice of how we live and a choice of how we die.

Mitchell apologised for breaking the news to fans in this way, but said: “If I hadn’t, my inbox would eventually have been full of emails asking if I’m OK, which would have been hard for my daughters to answer.”