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Grace Lee, who won right-to-die case, is dead

The parents of a terminally ill New York

The parents of a terminally ill New York City woman, Grace Sung Eun Lee, are waging a court battle over whether to keep her on life support. Credit: handout

A woman at the center of a highly publicized right-to-die case last year has passed away, her parents confirmed Tuesday.

Sungeon Grace Lee, 28, died at 6 p.m. Sunday, said her mother, Jin Ah Lee.

"We are very sad," she said.

Grace Lee had been in a deep coma since late last year, said David Smith of Garden City, Lee's legal representative. She had been living at her parents' home in Douglaston, Queens, receiving nursing care and pain management, Smith said.

Lee's story got national attention last fall when she said she wanted to end life support, a decision that her deeply religious parents opposed so vigorously that they sought a restraining order to stop it. They argued that removing their daughter's ventilator would be suicide and against biblical teaching.

Lee's father, Man Ho Lee, is pastor of Antioch Missionary Church in Flushing, Queens.

But after local and appellate judges declined the parents' petition, saying their daughter was competent to make her own medical decisions, Lee decided to abide by her parents' wishes.

"This young lady was determined through the courts to vindicate her right to die her way," Smith said, noting that though she did not finally remove herself from ventilators, she got her way in a different sense, by appeasing her parents.

"She died with a grace that befit her name," he said.

Lee, a New York City bank manager, was diagnosed with a tumor on her brain stem in 2011. After suffering seizures, she was rushed to North Shore University Hospital last Sept. 3. Paralyzed from the neck down, she was hooked up to the ventilator, a machine that breathed for her.

Jin Ah Lee said services for her daughter will be Thursday at 8 p.m. and Friday at 10 a.m. in Antioch Missionary Church, 4565 162nd St.

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