104-year-old scientist ends life listening to 'Ode to Joy'

11 May, 2018, 01:04 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • His choice Dr Goodall travelled to Europe this week to end his life voluntarily at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic

The lauded scientist had traveled to an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland on Monday and died "peacefully" earlier this morning.

Philip Nitschke, founder of the foundation that helped him take his life, revealed that he did not have a terminal illness but wanted to end his life because his quality of life had deteriorated. "I greatly regret having reached that age", he said.

When the celebrated plant ecologist David Goodall was interviewed on the occasion of his 104th birthday last month, his response was typically forthright.

He said he was happy to have the chance to end his life but would rather do it in Australia.

The British-born ecologist, 104, had travelled to the Swiss clinic from his home in Australia, where euthanasia is forbidden.

The scientist, who was not terminally ill, had asked for no funeral or remembrance ceremony.

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Hundreds of people - some far more frail than Goodall, who used a wheelchair - travel to Switzerland every year to take their lives.

Prof. Goodall was cleared by two Swiss doctors, including a psychiatrist who said he was of sound mind, to proceed with the "Swiss option".

Australian biologist David Goodall was declared dead at 12.30pm on Thursday, Exit International director Philipp Nitschke said.

His final wish was for his body to be either donated to medicine or cremated and the ashes "sprinkled locally", the right-to-die organization revealed.

Victoria last year became the first State to introduce a euthanasia Bill, effective in June next year, allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives.

Goodall died today after taking a fatal sleeping drug and was surrounded by four family members and a close friend.

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Life Circle, a small assisted suicide advocacy group based in Basel, provides aid in a minority of cases like his.

At his last press conference on Wednesday, Goodall was in good spirits and sang a few bars of Ode to Joy while wearing a jumper printed with the words "ageing disgracefully". "I am content to leave them undone".

University officials later reversed their decision.

Goodall said he hoped his story would lead to the legalisation of assisted dying in other countries.

The story of the academic, who is one of the first Australians to undertake the procedure due to old age rather than a terminal illness, attracted worldwide headlines and further inflamed a highly divisive debate.

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