Ailing teen who championed euthanasia dies in Chile

President Michele Bachelet poses for a selfie with Chilean teen Valentina Maureira on Feb 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
President Michele Bachelet poses for a selfie with Chilean teen Valentina Maureira on Feb 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

SANTIAGO (AFP) - A 14-year-old cystic fibrosis patient who made international news by pleading with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to be allowed to end her own life, has succumbed to her illness, her family announced on Thursday.

In a heart-wrenching video uploaded to YouTube in February, Valentina Maureira expressed her desire to meet with Bachelet, saying she was "tired of living" with the incurable illness.

Her father, Fredy Maureira, told reporters that Valentina died Thursday of complications from the genetic disorder, which attacks the lungs and other vital organs, making it difficult to breath and causing a host of other symptoms.

His daughter "did a lot for other dying children" with her message, which was viewed thousands of times on social networks and ignited debate over euthanasia in Chile, where it is forbidden by law, Maureira said.

The teenager ultimately succeeded in meeting with the Chilean President, who visited her hospital bedside, although the government said it could not grant Valentina's wish of liberalising access to euthanasia in the deeply Catholic, socially conservative country.