Iconic French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard died by assisted suicide in Switzerland because he was 'exhausted'

Rhiannon Ingle

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Iconic French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard died by assisted suicide in Switzerland because he was 'exhausted'

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Revered French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard died by assisted suicide, his lawyer has confirmed.

Godard, best known for his contributions to the 1960s French New Wave film movement, died yesterday (13 September) at his home in Rolle, Switzerland. He was 91.

The Breathless director made the decision to die by assisted suicide in Switzerland after being 'exhausted' with 'multiple' illnesses.

The giant of French cinema passed away at the age of 91. Credit: Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo
The giant of French cinema passed away at the age of 91. Credit: Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo

The medical report states that he 'had recourse to legal assistance in Switzerland for a voluntary departure' because he was 'stricken with ‘multiple incapacitating illnesses', Godard's legal council Patrick Jeanneret confirmed to the New York Times.

“He could not live like you and me, so he decided with a great lucidity, as he had all his life, to say, ‘Now, it’s enough,’” Jeanneret explained.

He added that his long-time client opted to die with dignity and 'that was exactly what he did'.

The director was reported to have passed 'peacefully at home' with his wife. Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo
The director was reported to have passed 'peacefully at home' with his wife. Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Libération, a daily French newspaper, quoted an unnamed source who was close to the Godard family who said: “He was not sick, he was simply exhausted.

"So he had made the decision to end it. It was his decision and it was important for him that it be known."

The iconoclast has been said to passed away 'peacefully at home' with his wife, fellow film-maker Annie-Marie Miéville, by his side.

While currently illegal in the UK, the practice of assisted dying or assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland.

With an ethos to allow patients to find 'dignity in dying', the practice helps an individual to take their life if requested by a person with sound decision-making capacity as a means to end their own suffering.

Fans of the boundary-pushing maestro have since flocked to share their thoughts on Godard's passing.

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn tweeted: "RIP Jean-Luc Godard, one of the giants of cinema & one of the progenitors of the French New Wave. His films aren’t always easy, but his work affects most directors today, whether they know it or not. My favourite film of his is the glorious Breathless."

Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright wrote: "RIP Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential, iconoclastic film-makers of them all. It was ironic that he himself revered the Hollywood studio film-making system, as perhaps no other director inspired as many people to just pick up a camera and start shooting."

With countless accolades, an impressive portfolio and innumerable testaments to his revolutionary work, it's clear that the late Jean-Luc Godard truly made his mark on cinema as the pioneer of the French New Wave.

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Topics: News, France, Film and TV

Rhiannon Ingle
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