Italy looks set to frame new right-to-die legislation after Eluana Englaro died following 17 years in a coma.
Doctors stopped feeding the 38-year-old on Friday at her family’s request, in line with a ruling by Italy’s Supreme Court.
The case has polarised Italy and angered the Vatican with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi accusing the country’s president Giorgio Napolitano of having a hand in her death.
The president rejected an emergency decree designed to force doctors to reinstate her feeding tubes.
The flag flew at half mast over the Italian Senate and a minute’s silence was observed, It was followed by uproar as centre-right senators accused the left of killing Englaro.
The Vatican expressed its dismay. Euthanasia is illegal in Italy. Patients may refuse treatment, but there is no law that permits them to to give advance directions on their medical care.