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Quebec woman who fought to expand medical aid in dying has passed away

In this 2019 photo, Nicole Gladu arrives at the courthouse in Montreal 2019, for the beginning of a trial challenging the provincial and federal laws on medically assisted death on the grounds they are too restrictive. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Nicole Gladu, the Quebecer who fought for her right to Jean medical aid in dying, has passed away.

Gladu — a polio survivor who suffered from an incurable degenerative disease called post‐poliomyelitis syndrome — was at the forefront of the legal fight for medically-assisted dying in Quebec.

In 2019, a Quebec Superior Court judge ruled parts of the law on assisted dying were unconstitutional.

Read more: Jean Truchon, Quebecer who fought to expand medically assisted death, receives procedure

In her decision Justice Christine Baudouin found that both the province’s and country’s laws on assisted dying were too restrictive and therefore discriminated against some who sought the procedure.

At the time, the federal law required that a person’s natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” before they could receive medical assistance in dying, while Quebec law stated that people must be “at the end of life.”

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Gladu fought to have the criteria of foreseeability of death repealed, alongside Jean Truchon who also had an incurable degenerative disease.

Because Gladu and Truchon did not meet the criteria prior to the ruling, doctors had turned down their requests for aid in dying.

Truchon passed away in 2020, after availing himself of his right to medical aid in dying.

Read more: Jean Truchon, Quebecer who fought to expand medically assisted death, receives procedure

Several of Ms. Gladu’s loved ones, including her friends Gaétan Lavoie and Micheline Raymond, confirmed her death to La Presse and Radio-Canada on Thursday.

According to a notice of death, Gladu passed away at Montreal’s CHUM hospital on Sunday of natural causes.

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Justice Minister David Lametti reacted to news of her death on social media Thursday evening.

“I want to salute the courage and determination of Nicole Gladu,” he wrote in French. “She made the whole country reflect on what suffering and dignity meant. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.”‘

— with files from The Canadian Press and Global News’ Maham Abedi

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