August 25, 2004  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross dies  in her suburban Phoenix home. She was 78.   Kubler-Ross was born in Switzerland and gained international recognition for her ground breaking book  "On Death and Dying," published 1969.  



bullet Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Dies; Famed for Work on Dying

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-born psychiatrist and author who gained international fame for her landmark work on death and dying, has died in her suburban Phoenix home. She was 78.

Kubler-Ross, who wrote the groundbreaking 1969 book "On Death and Dying," died Tuesday night of natural causes while surrounded by close friends and family, colleague David Kessler said on Wednesday.

Kessler told Reuters that Kubler-Ross, also known for her pioneering work in hospice care, died with children playing in the room and the television she loved to watch playing in the background.

"I really believe we saw acceptance on her face, that she ultimately had found her peace," he said. "She was happy. She no longer was paralyzed, she no longer was sick, she no longer was confined to a bed, to a room, to this world. She was free again."

Kubler-Ross, who moved to Arizona nine years ago following a series of strokes, had just finished her second book with Kessler -- "On Grief and Grieving," which is to be released next year.

During her five-decade career, she would establish herself as an expert in the field with more than 20 books, countless lectures and workshops on terminal illness and death. But it was her outline of the five stages of death -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance -- that would make her known to everyday people.

"Elisabeth was a dynamic, passionate woman who initiated discussion, debate and a better understanding of how death affects us," said J. Donald Schumacher, president of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Born in Zurich as one of triplets, she wrote in her autobiography "The Wheel of Life" that her eyes were opened by a visit to a former Nazi concentration camp when she volunteered to work for the International Voluntary Service for Peace in 1945.

In 1957, she graduated from medical school at the University of Zurich and moved to New York after marrying Manny Ross, who was a doctor. It was while working at a New York hospital that she would start her life's work with terminally ill patients

"They were shunned and abused, nobody was honest with them," she once said. After a stint in Colorado, she moved to Chicago in the mid-1960s, where she would establish her reputation through lectures to medical and theology students.

Kubler-Ross lectured throughout the 1970s on life after death, sparking controversy with her claims of being helped by "spiritual guides."

In a 1997 interview with Reuters, she spoke about her approach to life and living. "I always did what felt right, not what other people expected of me. I never listened to other people's opinions," she said.

Asked if she had regrets, she said: "I'm sorry I don't play an instrument. I would love to play and sing. (When I die) I'm going to dance first in all the galaxies ... I'm going to play and dance and sing."


bulletSource  Reuters

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