A world-renowned ophthalmologist who was suffering with terminal cancer took a fatal overdose in front of his wife and friend after saying he wanted to “end it all”.

Jacek Jerzy Kanski ended his own life at his home in West Common Close in Gerrards Cross on January 5 this year in front of wife Valerie, an ex-nurse, and his friend of more than 40 years, Dr David Thomas.

Mr Kanski, 79, had been suffered with terminal pancreatic cancer and had been prescribed morphine and other drugs to cope with the pain.

In a statement read out at an inquest into Mr Kanski’s death at Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, Dr Thomas said he received a call from Valerie at around 8am on January 5 asking him to visit because Jacek had “decided to inject the drugs and couldn’t be persuaded otherwise”.

He said: “He ordered Valerie to fetch the drugs, which she did reluctantly.”

Mr Kanski - who had significant medical knowledge because of his profession – then injected morphine through a catheter that had previously been inserted while his wife and friend stood nearby.

Dr Mia Murray from private service DoctorNow, attended to confirm his death. She had been caring for him since October 5 last year.

In a statement, she said that Valerie had mentioned on December 27 last year that her husband had been feeling “so weak he could hardly get out of bed” since having a round of chemotherapy on December 19.

On January 2, on a visit to see Mr Kanski, Dr Murray said: “He was in bed and too weak to move. I discussed a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ with him. He said he wanted to die at home and not in a hospice. He said his greatest fear was being in pain. He looked as if he would die with three or four weeks.”

Hospice charity Rennie Grove, who also had nurses looking after Mr Kanski, reported to Dr Murray on January 3 that he “appeared depressed” and he was then prescribed antidepressant Sertraline – although none of this was found in his system when he died.

Dr Murray added: “On January 5 I received a call saying that Valerie was asking for a doctor to come because her husband had died. He had become extremely distressed overnight and had requested Dr Thomas be present.

“He was medically-minded and would have known that the dose would have been enough to kill him.”

Senior coroner Crispin Butler ruled that Mr Kanski’s death was suicide and that he had died as a result of morphine toxicity - with pancreatic adenocarcinoma and hypertensive heart disease as contributory factors.

According to tributes posted online, Mr Kanski, who was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1939, was a world-renowned ophthalmologist whose extensive writings had helped train thousands of others hoping to get into the field.

He worked at hospitals including Moorfield Eye Hospital in London and was a consultant surgeon at King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor.