Terri Schiavo, the woman at the center of a family feud that became the focus of a national right-to-die debate, died Thursday, but her death did not end the controversy as her parents accused her husband of not allowing them to be present during Schiavo's final moments.
The battle was continuing even beyond her death, since both sides are also at odds over whether she should be buried or cremated, and what kind of autopsy should be performed.
Schiavo died at the Pinellas Park hospice where she lay for years while her husband and her parents fought in the nations most bitter and most heavily litigated right-to-die dispute. She was 41.
The battle over whether to keep her alive galvanized the nation over the last month, with President Bush and Congress weighing in on the side of her parents.
The president, for one, said "millions of Americans are saddened" by Schiavo's death. The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the
weak, he added. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life.
The case had spent seven years winding its way through the courts, with Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, repeatedly on the losing end.
They have been at odds with their son-in-law, Michael Schiavo, who consistently won legal battles by arguing that his wife would not have wanted to live in her condition. The case focused national attention on living wills, since Schiavo left no written instructions in case she became disabled.
Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 after her heart stopped because of a chemical imbalance that was believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder. Court-appointed doctors ruled she was in a persistent vegetative state, with no real consciousness or chance of recovery.
......EVERY BODY HAS A RIGHT TO EXIST, ....any act of man to terminate ones live is "killing"