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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 April, 2005, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Terri Schiavo's body is cremated
A younger Terri Schiavo
Schiavo's husband and parents have fought over her fate
The body of the brain-damaged US woman at the heart of a long legal dispute has been cremated.

Terri Schiavo died in Florida on Thursday, 13 days after a feeding tube keeping her alive was disconnected.

Her husband had fought for the tube's removal, saying it was what she would have wanted. Her parents led the campaign to keep their daughter alive.

The cremation was carried out according to a court order that Michael Schiavo had the right to make such decisions.

Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, wanted to bury her in Florida.

They disagreed with the verdict of court-appointed doctors, who said their 41-year-old daughter was in an irreversible persistent vegetative state.

During a seven-year legal battle, state and federal judges consistently ruled against the Schindler family's attempts to prolong Mrs Schiavo's life.

The US Supreme Court refused to hear their petitions, although Congress passed emergency legislation and they gained the support of President George W Bush.

Separate funerals

Mr Schiavo's lawyer said plans to bury his wife's ashes in the state of Pennsylvania had not yet been completed.

TERRI SCHIAVO CASE
Feb 1990: Terri Schiavo collapses
May 1998: Mr Schiavo files petition to remove feeding tube
Oct 2003: Florida lower house passes "Terri's Law", allowing governor to order doctors to feed Mrs Schiavo
Sept 2004: Florida Supreme Court strikes down law
18 Mar 2005: Florida court allows removal of tube
22 Mar 2005: Federal judge rejects appeal
23 Mar 2005: Appeals court backs federal ruling
29 Mar 2005: Federal court grants parents leave to appeal
30 Mar 2005: Federal court and Supreme Court reject parents' appeal
31 Mar 2005: Terri Schiavo dies

The Schindlers have scheduled a separate funeral Mass in Florida for Tuesday.

The autopsy was completed on Friday and results are not expected for several weeks.

Mr Schiavo had requested the procedure to show the extent of brain injuries sustained when Mrs Schiavo lapsed into a coma after her heart stopped beating temporarily in 1990.

The Schindlers' lawyer said their request to have an independent expert observe the autopsy was turned down by medical examiners, the Associated Press reports.

Senior Republicans have promised continued support for the Schindlers.




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