Geoffrey Turner, 66 (pictured), of Latham, New York, passed away on February 13 after a three-month battle with lung cancer
A smoker who died from lung cancer wrote his own obituary begging others to quit before it’s too late.
Father-of-five Geoffrey Turner, of Latham, New York, was a chain smoker of more than four decades.
The 66-year-old passed away on February 13 after battling stage IV lung cancer for the last three months.
In a self-written obituary that appeared in the Albany Times-Union, Turner implored other smokers to kick the habit, telling them ‘your life depends on it’.
‘I was an idiot who made the same stupid decision, day-after-day, multiple times per day,’ he wrote in the obituary that ran on Saturday, February 17.
‘I was a smoker and even though I knew it may eventually kill me, I chose to deny the truth to myself.’
Turner went on to say that choosing to smoke cigarettes didn’t just hurt himself, but also his loved ones.
‘The pain and suffering I caused my family was not worth the perceived “satisfaction” that really did nothing more than waste money, separate me from my family, and eventually destroyed my body.’
Turner’s daughter, Sarah Huiest, told TODAY that – according to family legend – Turner found one of his mother’s cigarettes for the first time at age two and smoked for the first time at age four.
‘He smoked from then until age 24 when he married my mother,’ Huiest said.
She said her father began smoking again in the 1990s and made various half-hearted attempts to quit the habit.
‘He discussed trying to quit last summer with my mom, but didn’t put forth much effort at all,’ Huiest told TODAY.
‘She tried to get him to quit smoking often, but he was very headstrong and there was very little discussion in the matter.’
In November, Turner was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer – the most advanced stage of the disease.
At this point, the cancer has metastasized beyond the lungs and has spread throughout the body.
According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer is less than 10 percent.
Turner began smoking when he was 24 and made several half-hearted attempts to quit, but never successfully did. Pictured: Turner, right, and his wife, Josie, on their wedding day
He penned an obituary that ran in the Albany Times-Union on February 17 (pictured) imploring other smokers to quit now before they end up suffering his same fate
Just three months later, Turner passed away, leaving behind his wife of 41 years, Josie; five children, including Sarah; and four grandchildren.
‘At 66 years old, I lived a decent life,’ Turner wrote in his obituary. ‘But there are so many events and milestones I will not be able to share with my loved ones.’
Before his death, Turner asked that, in place of flowers, a donation be made to a children’s charity or to the American Cancer Society.
He also donated his body to Albany Medical Center for cancer research and medical training.
‘If you’re a smoker, quit now – your life depends on it and those that you love depend upon your life,’ Turner wrote. ‘Remember, life is good – don’t let it go up in smoke.’
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths every year in the US.
The agency also says smoking is the leading cause of preventable death not just in America, but worldwide.
Turner’s wife, Josie, told WNYT that she hopes smokers who read the obituary heed her late husband’s warning.
‘If his words can impact one person to put out a cigarette and live a healthier life then that is worth it to me,’ she told the station. ‘I hope that happens.’
Huiest told the Times-Union that her father showed her his obituary before he passed away, and that she was surprised by its content.
‘It was all the truth, but it was extremely self-deprecating. He was taking responsibility,’ she said. ‘Reading it, I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of him.’