ARCHBISHOP Emeritus Desmond Tutu says his comments on assisted dying were related to his feelings on the treatment of Nelson Mandela during his final days.
Speaking at the St George's Cathedral on his 85th birthday, Tutu said he had prepared for his death.
"I have prepared for my death and have made it clear that I do not wish to be kept alive at all costs.
"I hope I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life’s journey in the manner of my choice,” Tutu said.
“Today, I myself am even closer to the departures hall than arrivals, so to speak, and my thoughts turn to how I would like to be treated when the time comes. For those suffering unbearably and coming to the end of their lives, merely knowing that an assisted death is open to them can provide immeasurable comfort."
This follows an opinion piece published in The Washington Post, in which Tutu said that with his life closer to its end than its beginning, he wishes to help give people dignity in dying.
His daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van-Furth, said she was behind her father, while the head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, sent well wishes via text from Rome, Italy.
Tutu has been vocal in his support for assisted dying after rallying behind DignitySA’s Sean Davison, who faced prison after aiding in his mother's death in New Zealand.
Tutu wrote to the New Zealand courts requesting Davison be allowed to await trial in South Africa and requesting leniency on sentencing.