Leonard Nimoy, the actor who originated the role of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, died in 2015 at the age of 83 from complications related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a new interview, Nimoy’s widow, Susan Bay, says Nimoy sought the aid of his nurses to end his life.
Nimoy went public with his illness in 2014 after being spotted at an airport in a wheelchair. The condition was blamed on years of smoking despite Nimoy having quit 30 years prior. He dedicated the rest of his life to a public campaign encouraging others to kick the habit, but his condition worsened.
"You cannot catch your breath," Bay tells Inside Edition, "He couldn't go out. For him to go from the parking lot to the movie theater, forget it.
"He was on a campaign to use his profile and make people think twice about lighting up," Bay continues. She then goes on to describe Nimoy’s final days, saying that Nimoy told her it was time and asked for the help of his nurses.
"He didn't want to be confined to a wheelchair and not able to breathe," Bay said. "[Nimoy’s nurses] keep adding a little more morphine over the period. He was in such a compromised situation that it did not take long. I believe in dying with dignity. Leonard believed ... in dying with dignity."
Bay is carrying on Nimoy’s final mission, appearing in public service announcements to warn against the dangers of smoking.
Nimoy played Spock beginning with the original pilot episode of Star Trek, through all three seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series. He reprised his role in the six Star Trek movies to feature The Original Series' cast, as well as for the 2009 Star Trek reboot movie and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness. He also appeared in the two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Unification" and his voice is featured as Spock in Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek Online.
Nimoy's role as Spock not only cemented his status as a founding father of the Star Trek franchise but an icon of science fiction and of the wider popular culture.
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