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Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote the book On Death And Dying, which outlined the five stages that terminally ill patients experience.
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Building upon her interviews and research, Kübler-Ross wrote On Death and Dying (1969), which identified the five stages that most terminally ill patients experience: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The identification of these stages was a revolutionary concept at the time, but has since become widely accepted.
A Life magazine ran an article on Kübler-Ross in November 1969,
bringing public awareness to her work outside of the medical community. The response was enormous and influenced Kübler-Ross’s decision to focus on her career on working with the terminally ill and their families. The intense scrutiny her work received also had an impact on her career path. Kübler-Ross stopped teaching at the university to work privately on what she called the “greatest mystery in science”—death.
During her career, Kübler-Ross wrote more than 20 books on death and related subjects, including To Live Until We Say Goodbye (1978), Living with Death and Dying (1981), and The Tunnel and the Light (1999). She also traveled around the world, giving her “Life, Death, and Transition” workshops. Funded by the profits from her books, workshops, and talks, she established Shanti Nilaya, an educational retreat, in Escondido, California, in 1977. Around that same time, she formed the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Center, which was later moved to her Virginia farm in the mid-1980s. Working with AIDS patients during the early days of the epidemic, she tried to create a hospice for AIDS-afflicted children, but dropped the plan after encountering much opposition.
In the later part of her career, Kübler-Ross became increasingly interested in the issues of life after death, spirit guides, and spirit channeling, which was met with skepticism and scorn by her peers in the medical and psychiatric circles.
In 2002, Kübler-Ross moved into a hospice. She died on August 24, 2004, of natural causes, surrounded by friends and family. Not long before her death, she had finished work on her final book, On Grief and Grieving (2005), which she wrote with David Kessler. Kübler-Ross was survived by her two children and two grandchildren. In 2007, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her work. Kübler-Ross helped start the public discussion on death and dying and campaigned vigorously for better treatment and care for the terminally ill.
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