An author penned an email to the Observer announcing his death moments before killing himself with a US bought euthanasia kit.
Jack Semmens sent chief reporter Richard Morris a ‘press release’ announcing his death at shortly after 1am yesterday (Thursday) morning – along with the poignant quote: “£10,000 to Dignitas? I don’t think so!”
Referring to himself in the third person, Mr Semmens wrote how he been ‘found dead in his seafront flat today’ and that ‘apparently a US euthanasia device was involved’.
The email was not discovered until the Observer offices opened at 7.30am.
A subsequent check with local police confirmed the father-of-five had been found dead just after 6am, after friends became concerned he had not answered their calls and fire crews forced their way in to his Victoria Court flat in St Leonards.
The Teesside-born writer enjoyed a varied career after leaving his native north east for London at the age of 20.
He married and later divorced the painter Janet Moodie and played in a host of rock and soul bands.
A successful 12-year-career in advertising made way for two years directing music videos and he later formed his own company, Chase Films - working on videos for the likes of Alison Moyet and Barbara Stresand.
It was not until the late 1980s that he began writing seriously, producing a film script, On Remand, about on three months he spent in Wormwood Scrubs, but would go on to release countless short stories, poems, children’s books and novels.
One of his most recent works, 2009’s Seated Female Nude With Right Arm Outstretched followed a young clarinettist while he stalked a rich, older women.
And, according to publishers, Mr Semmens was working on a crime novel, a play set in an open prison and an operetta.
The reason behind his suicide is unclear, but he finished off his suicide email with the phrase: “So many people live far too long.”