Jack Kevorkian Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Jack Kevorkian Net Worth

Jack Kevorkian had an estimated net worth of $500 Thousand at death. Jack Kevorkian was a U.S.-based physician who assisted in patient suicides, sparking increased talk on hospice care and “right to die” legislative action. 

Jack Kevorkian was a pathologist who helped people suffering from terminal illnesses end their lives. After years of arguing with the court system about the legality of his actions, he was sentenced to eight years in prison in 1999. The actions of Kevorkian sparked a national debate about the ethics of euthanasia and hospice care.

To calculate the net worth of Jack Kevorkian, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets.

All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities. 

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Jack Kevorkian
Net Worth: $300 Thousand
Monthly Salary: $15 Thousand
Annual Income: $200 Thousand
Source of Wealth: Physician, Pathologist, Painter, Author, Musician

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Early Life

Murad Kevorkian, the second of three children born to Armenian immigrants Levon and Satenig Kevorkian, was born on May 26, 1928, in Pontiac, Michigan. Kevorkian’s parents fled the Armenian Massacres that occurred shortly after World War I.

In 1912, missionaries smuggled Levon out of Turkey and brought him to Pontiac, Michigan, where he found work at an automobile foundry.

Satenig escaped the Armenian death march, seeking refuge with relatives in Paris before rejoining her brother in Pontiac. Levon and Satenig met in their city’s Armenian community, where they married and started a family. In 1926, the couple had a daughter, Margaret, who was followed by a son, Murad, who was later nicknamed “Jack” by American friends and teachers, and a third child, Flora.

After losing his job at the foundry in the early 1930s, Levon began making a good living as the owner of his own excavating company, which was no easy feat in Depression-era America.

While other families struggled financially, the Kevorkians began to live a more comfortable life in Pontiac’s bucolic, multi-cultural suburb. “My parents made significant sacrifices so that we children would be spared unnecessary privation and misery,” Kevorkian later wrote. “There was always enough to go around.”

Strict Upbringing

Levon and Satenig were strict and religious parents who worked hard to raise their children to be good Christian citizens. However, Jack struggled to reconcile what he perceived to be contradictory religious ideas. His family was a regular churchgoer, and Jack frequently railed against miracles and an all-knowing God in his weekly Sunday school class.

Kevorkian insisted that if there was a God who could make his son walk on water, he would also have been able to prevent the Turkish slaughter of his entire extended family. Every week, Jack debated the existence of God until he realized he would never find an acceptable answer to his questions, and he stopped going to church entirely by the age of 12.

The children were also encouraged to do well in school, and all three showed high academic intelligence; however, as the only boy, Jack became the focus of Levon and Satenig’s high expectations. Even as a child, Jack Kevorkian was a voracious reader and academic who enjoyed the arts, including drawing, painting, and piano.

However, Jack’s academic prowess was accompanied by a highly critical mind, and he rarely accepted ideas at face value. At school, he frequently argued with his teachers, sometimes humiliating them because they couldn’t keep up with his sharp debate skills.

While his jabs at teachers drew admiration from his classmates, Jack’s ease with learning frequently alienated him from his peers. When Kevorkian was in sixth grade, he was promoted to Eastern Junior High School, and by high school, he had taught himself German and Japanese.

Classmates quickly labeled him as an eccentric bookworm, and as a result, Kevorkian struggled to make friends. He also abandoned the concept of romantic relationships, believing that they were an unnecessary distraction from his studies. Kevorkian graduated with honors from Pontiac High School in 1945, when he was only 17 years old.

Kevorkian, who was accepted into the University of Michigan College of Engineering, aspired to be a civil engineer. However, he became bored with his studies halfway through his freshman year and began focusing on botany and biology.

By midyear, he had decided to attend medical school, often taking 20 credit hours in a semester to meet the 90-hour requirement.

He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1952 and soon after began a pathology residency. The Korean War, however, abruptly ended Kevorkian’s career in 1953. He served as an Army medical officer in Korea for 15 months before returning to Colorado.

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Early Career

Kevorkian became fascinated by death and the act of dying while serving his residency at the University of Michigan hospital in the 1950s. He paid regular visits to terminally ill patients, photographing their eyes in an attempt to time their death.

Kevorkian believed that doctors could use the data to distinguish between death and fainting, shock, or coma in order to determine when resuscitation was futile. “But my number one reason was that it was interesting,” Kevorkian later told reporters. “The second reason was that it was a taboo subject.”

Kevorkian, never one to shy away from controversial ideas, caused another uproar among colleagues when he proposed that death-row inmates be used as subjects in medical experiments while they were still alive.

Inspired by research that described medical experiments performed on Egyptian criminals by the ancient Greeks, Kevorkian developed the idea that similar modern experiments could not only save valuable research dollars, but also provide insight into the anatomy of the criminal mind. In a paper presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1958, he argued for his point of view.

In what he called “terminal human experimentation,” he argued that condemned convicts could help humanity before being executed by volunteering for “painless” medical experiments that would begin while they were conscious but would end in death. Jack Kevorkian’s peers dubbed him “Dr. Death” because of his unconventional experiments and strange proposals.

Kevorkian’s controversial views garnered him minor media attention, which led to his dismissal from the University of Michigan Medical Center. Instead, he continued his internship at Pontiac General Hospital, where he began another set of contentious experiments.

Kevorkian enlisted the help of medical technologist Neal Nicol to simulate the same experiments after learning about a Russian medical team that was transfusing blood from corpses into living patients.

The results were extremely positive, and Kevorkian believed the procedure could save lives on the battlefield: if blood from a bank was unavailable, doctors could use Kevorkian’s research to transfuse the blood of a corpse into an injured soldier.

Kevorkian pitched his idea to the Pentagon, believing it could be used in Vietnam, but he was turned down for a federal grant to continue his research. Instead, the research enhanced his reputation as an outlier, terrified his colleagues, and eventually infected Kevorkian with Hepatitis C.

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Crusade for Assisted Suicide

Kevorkian moved around the country from hospital to hospital after becoming a specialist in 1960, publishing more than 30 professional journal articles and booklets about his philosophy on death before opening his own clinic near Detroit, Michigan.

The company eventually failed, and Kevorkian relocated to California to work two part-time pathology jobs in Long Beach. These positions were also cut short when Kevorkian resigned after another disagreement with a chief pathologist; Jack claimed that his career was doomed by physicians who feared his radical ideas.

Kevorkian “retired” to focus on a film project about Handel’s Messiah and research for his resurrected death-row campaign. By 1970, however, Kevorkian was still unemployed and had lost his fiancee; he ended the relationship after discovering his bride-to-be lacked self-discipline. By 1982, Kevorkian was living alone, sleeping in his car on occasion, subsisting on canned food and social security.

He returned to Michigan in 1985 to write a comprehensive history of experiments on executed humans, which was published in the obscure Journal of the National Medical Association after being rejected by more prestigious journals.

When Kevorkian learned that doctors in the Netherlands were assisting people to die by lethal injection in 1986, he saw an opportunity to broaden his death row proposal. His new crusade for euthanasia, or assisted suicide, grew out of his campaign for medical experiments on the dying. Kevorkian started writing new articles, this time on the advantages of euthanasia.

He followed up his papers by building a suicide machine called the “Thanatron” (Greek for “Instrument of Death”) out of $45 worth of materials. The Thanatron was made up of three bottles that delivered fluids in sequence: first a saline solution, then a painkiller, and finally a fatal dose of the poison potassium chloride.

Patients who were ill could even administer the lethal dose of poison themselves using Kevorkian’s design. After years of rejection from national medical journals and media outlets, Kevorkian’s machine and proposal to set up a franchise of “obitoriums,” where doctors could help the terminally ill end their lives, would finally gain national attention.

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Making Headlines

However, Kevorkian rose to prominence in 1990 after assisting in the suicide of Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old Alzheimer’s patient from Michigan. Before becoming ill, Adkins was a member of the Hemlock Society, an organization that advocates for voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients.

When Adkins was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she began looking for someone to end her life before the degenerative disease took its full toll. She had read about Kevorkian’s invention of a “suicide machine” in the media and contacted him about using it on her.

Kevorkian agreed to help her in a public park while driving his Volkswagen van. Kevorkian inserted the IV, and Adkins took her own painkiller before administering the poison. Adkins died of heart failure within five minutes.

When the story broke, Kevorkian became a national celebrity – and a criminal. The State of Michigan charged Kevorkian with Adkins’ murder right away. However, the case was later dismissed due to Michigan’s ambiguous stance on assisted suicide.

A Michigan judge issued an injunction prohibiting Kevorkian from using the suicide machine in early 1991. The state of Michigan suspended Jack Kevorkian’s medical license the same year, but the doctor continued to assist with suicides. In the absence of the medications required to use the Thanatron, Kevorkian built a new machine called the Mercitron, which delivered carbon monoxide via a gas mask.

The Michigan Legislature passed a bill outlawing assisted suicide the following year, specifically to put an end to Kevorkian’s assisted suicide campaign.

As a result, Kevorkian was sentenced to prison twice that year. Geoffrey Fieger, a lawyer, bailed him out by successfully arguing that a person may not be found guilty of criminally assisting a suicide if they administered medication with the “intent to relieve pain and suffering,” even if it increased the risk of death.

Kevorkian was charged with assisted suicide four times in Michigan, but he was acquitted in three of them and a mistrial was declared in the fourth. Kevorkian was disappointed, telling reporters that he wanted to be imprisoned to expose society’s hypocrisy and corruption.

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Conviction and Imprisonment

In 1998, the Michigan legislature passed legislation making assisted suicide a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine. They also closed the loophole that had previously allowed Kevorkian’s acquittals. Nonetheless, Kevorkian continued to help patients. Meanwhile, Kevorkian was being prosecuted on criminal charges.

Kevorkian, never one to back down from a challenge, intensified his crusade in 1998. That year, he allowed the CBS television news program 60 Minutes to air a tape he’d made of Thomas Youk’s lethal injection. Youk had Lou Gehrig’s disease and had asked Kevorkian for assistance.

On the recording, Kevorkian assists with the administration of drugs to his patient. Following the broadcast of the footage, Kevorkian spoke to reporters from 60 Minutes and dared the courts to pursue him legally. Prosecutors took notice, charging Kevorkian with second-degree murder this time. Kevorkian also chose to be his own legal counsel.

On March 26, 1999, an Oakland County jury found Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder and illegally delivering a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison with the possibility of parole in April of that year.

Kevorkian spent the next three years attempting to have the conviction overturned in an appeals court. His request was turned down. Lawyers for Kevorkian requested that the case be heard by the United States Supreme Court, but that request was also denied.

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Illness and Death

Kevorkian was released from prison on good behavior on June 1, 2007, after serving slightly more than eight years of his sentence. In addition, the former doctor promised not to assist in any further suicides. Doctors suspected Kevorkian had little time left to live because of liver damage caused by advanced Hepatitis C. But Kevorkian quickly made amends, and he began speaking out about assisted suicide on the lecture circuit.

On March 12, 2008, Kevorkian announced his intention to run as an independent for a seat in the United States Congress representing Michigan. He did not win the election, but he did receive 2.6 percent of the vote.

In 2010, HBO announced that You Don’t Know Jack, a film based on Kevorkian’s life, would premiere in April. The film starred Al Pacino as Kevorkian, as well as Susan Sarandon and John Goodman.

Kevorkian died on June 3, 2011, at the age of 83, at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Before his death, he had been hospitalized for about two weeks due to kidney and heart problems. Flora Holzheimer, his sister, survived him.

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