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Nurse in a coma for 40 years after being victim of rape passes away

Shanbaug suffered severe brain damage and was in a vegetative state after she was raped and strangled
Shanbaug suffered severe brain damage and was in a vegetative state after she was raped and strangled

An Indian nurse who was in a coma for 42 years after being raped while working in a hospital has died.

Aruna Shanbaug suffered severe brain damage and was in a vegetative state after she was raped and strangled by a hospital worker in 1973.

Ms Shanbaug was diagnosed with pneumonia last week and was on a life support system for the past few days at Mumbai's King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Her case sparked a debate over India's euthanasia laws after a Mumbai-based author and friend of the nurse petitioned the courts to stop force-feeding her through a tube so her suffering would not be prolonged.

India's Supreme Court rejected the petition filed by Pinki Virani who had sought euthanasia for Ms Shanbaug, saying the court should "end her unbearable agony".

The case was opposed by nurses at the hospital who took turns taking care of her for more than four decades after Ms Shanbaug's family said they were unable to support her.