28/08/2012 04:27 BST

Tony Nicklinson Right-To-Die: Locked-In Sufferer's Widow Urges Change In Law

Tony Nicklinson's widow has said she hopes people will continue to campaign for a change in the law on assisted dying following her husband's death.

58-year-old Mr Nicklinson suffered from locked-in syndrome and died last week after losing a landmark High Court right-to-die case. He had been refusing food in the days leading up to his death and had contracted pneumonia.

Following the decision he was visibly distressed, sobbing in front of cameras while Jane Nicklinson told reporters the ruling had left him "heartbroken."

His wife wiped away Mr Nicklinson's tears in a BBC interview

Mrs Nicklinson told the BBC the family knew the result of the High Court ruling days before it was made public - something which "knocked him for six", his widow said.

"I think he had raised his hopes so much - probably out of proportion. He said he hadn't been prepared for the emotional side of it for him and he was absolutely devastated," she added.

"I don't think he would have wanted to keep going for too much longer. One of the last things he said to me was 'I'm already dead - don't mourn for me'.

"And it's true, we did. I think in some respects, seven years ago was harder than this because we did lose the old Tony."

Mr Nicklison was a keen and active sportsman until he was paralysed by a stroke in 2005. Jane Nicklinson, who, along with daughters Lauren and Beth, had backed her husband's legal bid, echoed other right-to-die campaigners' calls for Mr Nicklinson's memory to live on through a continued battle to change the law, which had prevented doctors from ending his life.

Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Nicklinson said: "This is certainly not the end of the campaign. I do hope that someone takes it up.

"Even though we didn't win (the legal case), all the hard work for the case has been done. I hope at some point someone will come forward and carry on with what Tony started.

"I think we always knew the chances of winning at this stage were slim - possible but slim - and we'd never been told anything different so we were prepared for it."