Former England captain Ray Illingworth has revealed that he is receiving treatment for oesophageal cancer. The 89-year-old, who led England to a Test series victory in Australia in 1970-71, lost his wife last year and now he is undergoing radiotherapy for cancer. Illingworth now wants to change the law on legalised assisted dying.
Illingworth said that after caring for her, he believes people who are terminally ill should be able to decide when to end their life. Nursing her in her final years convinced him that terminally ill patients should have the choice to end their lives, he said.
“I don’t want to have the last 12 months that my wife had. She had a terrible time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. I believe in assisted dying. The way my wife was, there was no pleasure in life in the last 12 months, and I don’t see the point of living like that, to be honest,” Illingworth told The Telegraph.
“But we don’t have assisted dying in England yet, so you don’t have the option, do you? They are debating it and I think it will come eventually. A lot of doctors are against it, but if they had to live as my wife did in her last 12 months they might change their minds,” he said.
On his health, Illingworth added: “They are just hoping to get rid of the last bit (of the tumour) with extra double doses. I will see how these next two doses go, keep my fingers crossed and hope I have a bit of luck,” Illingworth told Telegraph.
Illingworth played 61 Tests for England between 1958 and 1973, taking 122 wickets and scoring 1,836 runs. He captained England for 31 Tests, winning 12, losing five, and drawing 14. Domestically, he played for his native Yorkshire as well as Leicestershire.