Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has said he changed his views on assisted dying after being inspired by the case of a locked-in syndrome sufferer from Wiltshire.
Tony Nicklinson from Melksham battled for seven years to have the right to end his own life but it was refused and he died naturally aged 58 in 2012.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Carey said: "It was the case of Tony Nicklinson that exerted the deepest influence on me,"
"Here was a dignified man making a simple appeal for mercy, begging that the law allow him to die in peace, supported by his family.
"His distress made me question my motives in previous debates. Had I been putting doctrine before compassion, dogma before human dignity?"
A former Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Bath and Wells has broken free with the Church of England's stance on assisted dying and said it would not be 'anti-Christian' to legalise it.
Writing in the Daily Mail, George Carey said he would be backing legislation tabled by Lord Falconer which proposes allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live.
He warned that by opposing reform the Church risked 'promoting anguish and pain.'
It marks an extraordinary U-turn by the 78-year-old cleric, who was Bishop of Bath and Wells between 1988 and 1991, before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury.
The widow of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson, who tirelessly campaigned to have the right to end his life, has said he would be 'really pleased' the former Archbishop of Canterbury's is backing laws to legalise assisted dying.
Jane Nickinson lost Tony two years ago but said she was 'amazed and thrilled' at Lord Carey's U-turn on the issue.
She told BBC 5 live's Stephen Nolan: "This is huge because the Church has always been one of our greatest opponents.
"I think Tony moved a lot of people but to hear he moved someone in such a prominent position - someone who is willing to come out and openly support our position - I'm just over the moon about it.
"I'm really pleased and I know Tony would be as well."
Mrs Nicklinson and paralysed former builder Paul Lamb lost a right-to-die fight in the UK's highest court last month, but said they were hopeful that change would come.
Slow traffic and road blocked due to accident, three vehicles involved on A39 Bristol Road near Haydon Drove. Police are on the scene.
The Right Reverend Peter Hancock has been installed as the new Bishop of Bath and Wells.
More than 1,000 people took part in the service at Wells Cathedral.
Bishop Peter was appointed last year to replace the Right Reverend Peter Price who had spent 11 years in the post. It makes him the 79th Bishop of Bath and Wells.
Cygnets born at the beginning of the month at the Bishop's Palace in Wells have learned to ring a bell for food in record time. The 11 baby swans are keeping up a tradition which began in the 1870s.
The cygnets were spotted by staff ringing the bell at the weekend who are amazed that they didn't need to be tempted by bread attached to the cord.
The video shows the youngsters being shown what to do by their parent and then you see them getting the hang of pulling the bell rope themselves.
You can follow the adventures of the young family on the Bishop's Palace Swancam.
Video of this afternoon's dramatic rescue operation above the spires of Wells Cathedral, Somerset.
Video footage shows emergency services at Wells Cathedral in Somerset after a woman fell 30ft inside the cathedral's bell tower.
The 60-year-old became trapped between two walls 150ft up before she was winched up to the roof by fire crews and airlifted to safety in a helicopter.
A spokesman for Wells Cathedral said the 68-year-old woman was part of a tour group of around a dozen, accompanied by two guides.
The emergency services did a fantastic job.She fell inside the cathedral but they took her out through the top of the roof.
A group of 12 adults were undertaking the final stage of a standard Cathedral high parts tour. While the group was undertaking a briefing within this space, an incident occurred to one of the party members.
The cathedral's emergency procedure was immediately put into operation.
No details are yet available as to how the incident occurred but all further high parts tours and cathedral tower tours are cancelled until further notice while a review of the incident takes place.