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'How We Die' author dies in Conn. at age 83

HAMDEN, Conn. — Dr. Sherwin Nuland, the author of an award-winning book about death called How We Die, has died at age 83.

He died of prostate cancer on Monday at his home in Hamden, said his daughter Amelia Nuland, who said he told her he'd built such a "beautiful life" that he wasn't ready to leave it but he wasn't scared.

He was born in New York and taught medical ethics at Yale University. He was critical of the medical profession's obsession with prolonging life when common sense would dictate further treatment is futile. He wrote that nature "will always win in the end."

How We Die was published in 1994 and won a National Book Award. In it the doctor describes how life is lost to diseases and old age. It helped foster national debate over doctor-assisted suicide and end-of-life decisions.

He said in a 1996 interview he hoped that when his time came he would go gently "without suffering and surrounded by loved ones."

His daughter said he and his family had talked all the time about his illness and his impending death. She said there were times when he was "very much at peace" and occasional times toward the end when he seemed scared and sad.

"He wasn't scared of death itself, but he loved everything about his world and the people in his world and life," she said. "And he didn't want to leave."

'How We Die' author dies in Conn. at age 83 03/04/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 11:08pm]
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