The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Florida Governor Jeb Bush to keep a badly brain-damaged woman alive.
Mrs Schiavo's family have vowed to fight on to keep her alive
Judges refused to change a ruling by the Florida courts to allow Terri Schiavo's feeding tube to be removed.
The 41-year-old has been incapacitated and kept alive artificially since she collapsed at her Florida home in 1990.
But a stay on her death remains in place while her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, try to have her husband removed as his wife's legal guardian.
Michael Schiavo asked a Florida court to have the tube removed in 1998, testifying that his wife had told him she would not want to be kept alive under such conditions.
The Schindlers argue Mr Schiavo has a conflict of interest because he now lives with another woman, with whom he has two children.
All legal avenues to keep her alive have practically been exhausted in a case that has divided her family and US public opinion.
Mrs Schiavo's parents have argued that hope remains for their daughter and oppose removing the tube.
But after several years of court battles, Mrs Schiavo's feeding tube was removed in October 2003.
At Governor Bush's request, Florida's lawmakers rushed in a law allowing him to intervene, known as "Terri's Law", and the tube was reinserted six days later.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled in September that the law was unconstitutional.
Mr Bush's appeal to the US Supreme Court was turned down on Monday.
Mr Schindler said: "It's judicial homicide. They want to murder her."
Ken Connor, Mr Bush's lawyer, said the Florida governor had no additional legal remedies available to him.
"This case really demonstrates in bold relief, the important need to provide a better way to deal with end-of-life issues for vulnerable adults," Mr Connor said.
Jay Sekulow, representing the Schindler family, said that while there were still legal options available in Florida, the Supreme Court's refusal to take on the case made them more difficult.