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Esther Rantzen’s daughter’s heartache as she fears TV icon will have ‘lonely death’

Dame Esther Rantzen’s daughter Rebecca Wilcox has spoken to Good Morning Britain of her fears about what will happen if Esther, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, chooses to go to assisted dying clinic Dignitas in Switzerland.

On the day that MPs in parliament will debate a petition on assisted dying after it gained more than 205,000 signatures, Rebecca spoke to Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley in the GMB studio and revealed she would want to travel with her mother to the clinic if she could. “If it was up to me, I would be there,” she said, although the current law in the UK means she could face a police investigation and potentially years in prison if she did help her mum end her life there.



Esther Rantzen's daughter Rebecca Wilcox
Rebecca Wilcox talks about her mother Esther Rantzen on GMB

She also spoke about the upcoming vote in parliament, remarking: “If it gets lost [the pledge from Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak to hold a vote], I will scream and shout and throw a tantrum and not leave Downing Street’s front step. I was there the other day to hand in the petition, I know how to get in, I am on good terms with the guards, I will sit there until they fulfil their promise because I am so sick of them breaking promises.”

Rebecca went on to explain how her mother, who is 83 and announced her cancer diagnosis in January 2023, is feeling currently, and how the whole family are coping.



Rebecca Wilson in 2004 with her mother Esther Rantzen
Rebecca Wilcox and her mother Esther Rantzen in 2004

“This miracle drug that she’s on, it’s a bit like a firewall surrounding a computer virus, the computer virus is the cancer and it will eventually adapt, it will jump over it and there is nothing you can do,” she said.

“Her type of cancer is incredibly fast when the treatment stops, so when it stops working it’s going to be quick, and we’re all living on this sort of strange knife edge of ‘everything’s okay’ and suddenly it’s not.”

Replying to Richard’s question about whether Esther choosing an assisted death in Switzerland would mean a lonely death for the TV star, Rebecca replied: “Yes. It will be horrible. We’re outsourcing death to a country that isn’t known for its care and empathy – if I can be so mean. It’s a brilliant country, they’ve got it right [about assisted death] but they haven’t got family arms around you, do they?”



Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid interview Rebecca Wilcox
Rebecca Wilcox on GMB with Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid

Rebecca described the situation as “impossible”, and the GMB interview also featured her mother Esther talking about her decision to sign up to Dignitas in a remote conversation with Susanna Reid.

“I had three deaths that happened very soon after each other,” Esther said. “There was Desi, my husband, there was my mother, and there was our dog. There is no question that our dog had the best death. We can offer our beloved pets a pain-free death and we can’t offer it to our beloved family.”

She added: “As you know, I’ve signed up with Dignitas but it does mean if I go to Switzerland, that my family can’t come with me for fear of being interrogated by the police, which is not what you want your family to go through.”



Good Morning Britain's Susanna Reid
Susanna Reid talks to Esther Rantzen on GMB

Esther’s husband, TV producer and presenter Desmond Wilcox, died of a heart attack at the age of 69 in 2000, and Rebecca explained that her mother’s memories of his death also affected her position on assisted death.

“I remember vividly every moment from getting that phone call ‘You need to come now!’, getting on the wrong train, going to the wrong part of the hospital, bursting into tears on a security guard trying to find my way up there and then I remember all the things that aren’t suitable for breakfast [television],” she said.

“I don’t remember the last hug I had with him. I don’t remember the last conversation I had with him. And, that was 20 odd years later. So, mum is very keen for that not to happen to us.”

View news Source: https://www.ok.co.uk/tv/esther-rantzens-daughters-heartache-fears-32692138

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