PARIS, France (CNN) -- A French woman severely disfigured by facial tumors has been found dead just two days after a court rejected her request for an assisted suicide.
Medical examiners were Thursday looking into the death of 52-year-old Chantal Sebire -- whose case had prompted nominally Roman Catholic France to reexamine its stance on euthanasia -- to determine whether anything illegal had taken place.
It was not immediately clear how Sebire died.
Sebire had suffered from esthesioneuroblastoma, a rare and incurable form of cancer for eight years, developing tumors in her nasal passages and sinuses that distorted her face and caused her nose and eyes to bulge.
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The woman from Dijon, in eastern France, said drugs were ineffective against the excruciating pain caused by the condition and there was no reason doctors should not be permitted to hasten her death.
Assisted suicide is illegal in France, however. The law permits only passive euthanasia -- removing feeding and hydration tubes when a person is in a coma, or inducing a coma and then removing the tubes.
Sebire's lawyer had tried to convince a French court that it was "barbaric" to put her through the ordeal of dying slowly in an artificial coma, something that could take up to two weeks while her three children looked on in anguish.