Emotional goodbyes to Ambrosini

Cape Town - MPs from across the political divide on Tuesday paid emotional tributes to their IFP colleague Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who died at the weekend.

In a debate in the National Assembly on Ambrosini's death, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi spoke about his close friend and colleague's decision to end his own life.

"Dr Ambrosini's wife, who is present with us in this House today, has now agreed that I speak openly as his lifelong friend and leader," Buthelezi said.

Ambrosini's wife Carin and young son Luke were in the public gallery during the debate.

"In a characteristically, clearly considered... decision on Saturday morning the 16th of August at 02:14, Mario Oriani-Ambrosini decided to end his long-fought battle with cancer and the unbearable suffering and pain he had to endure towards the end."

Buthelezi said Ambrosini was facing the imminent failure of his body from lung cancer after both conventional and alternative therapies failed to cure him.

"He was not able to eat and was dependent on an oxygen machine. Many times over the past few weeks Dr Ambrosini told his closest friends that his greatest source of suffering was not his disease, but was the knowledge that his family would face the harrowing journey towards his death."

Buthelezi said Ambrosini's decision to end his life was "made out of compassion".

The IFP leader's voice broke at times as he revealed that Ambrosini sent a message to his closest friends prior to his suicide.

"He wrote 'I'm dying in peace and serenity surrounded by the love of my family and friends. I'm dying at a time when I feel ready... My last thoughts are with my child and I hope you will give him some of the love and guidance I would like my child to receive'."

Buthelezi said he hoped the circumstances surrounding Ambrosini's death would not overshadow the good work he did as a parliamentarian.

Ambrosini won a court bid which paved the way for MPs to introduce private members' bills in Parliament.

He was one of the most vocal opponents to the protection of state information bill.

Prior to his death, Ambrosini introduced the medical innovation bill, which included provisions that alternative treatments like marijuana be introduced to treat terminally ill patients.

John Fitzgerald Khumalo 2014-08-19 05:37:25 PM
I had the opportunity to work close with this fallen giant in Pretoria and he oozed charm and high intellect in law. A true Jurist indeed.
Adv Goitseone Legoete 2014-08-19 05:41:38 PM
He fought for weed. He will be missed
mlindos 2014-08-19 05:42:15 PM
one psychologist once said to me, don't make a permanent solution for a temporary problem. I guess the same can't be said for Ambrosini
Rothney Lukas 2014-08-19 05:54:09 PM
Wil weet,hoe ht hierdie man selfmoord gepleeg,geskiet?...
Nin Ja Kitty 2014-08-19 05:56:55 PM
Whatever his political beliefs were, he was a man who suffered endless pain and finally brought it to an end. To save his family from further suffering. Suicide it would be called, but definitely not a cowardly way out. May his soul rest in peace.
Amanda Matthews 2014-08-19 06:02:00 PM
Ambriosi I salute you. A true son of South Africa. A great legislater and few realise that he assisted in the drawing up our South African Constitution. He also was the architect of our Immigration Legislation. A true intellectual. A man of great character. He lived a life of dignity and remained true to himself to the very end.
Thabelo Shoeshoe Moshoeshoe 2014-08-19 06:04:23 PM
RIP ....cancer is indeed ubearable
DignitySA 2014-08-19 06:05:10 PM
As an organisation committed to legalising assisted dying for the terminally ill, we are extremely grateful to Dr Ambrosini and his family for reigniting the discussion about end-of-life choices and for highlighting the need for a law change to decriminalise assisted dying. For some, a small percentage, palliative care simply isn't enough and, to compound the issue, how many South Africans even have access to good palliative care, let alone any? RIP Sir. And thank you.
Janine Filmer 2014-08-19 06:08:11 PM
A man of courage and integrity.
Alexander Dowding 2014-08-19 06:15:56 PM
The more details they release the more sad I feel for his family. He was so brave in doing what he felt needed to be done. News24 I have a request - could you please get one of your reporters to find out more details about the Medical Innovation Bill? It would be good to know how much support the bill has and whether all of the political parties will vote in favour of it. A very important issue that I am certain the South African public would like to hear more about.