Jade Goody's death marks the conclusion of an extraordinary and poignant episode in the life of the nation.
Even those who abhorr the impact of reality television on our culture cannot have failed to have been touched by the plight of the young woman whose very ordinariness had made her a star and who invited the public to share in her final days.
Nothing dignified her life so much as the manner with which she took leave of it. Neither raging against, nor passively accepting, the dying of the light, her insistence on remaining in the spotlight to the end raised important questions about the culture of secretiveness and silence with which modern society insists on envelopping death and the dying. She also helped raise awareness of the need for women to get tested for cervical cancer. If her own premature death, therefore, ends up saving others' lives, that alone is a legacy of which her family can be proud.