Scientist ends life at Swiss clinic listening to 'Ode to Joy'

Geneva Stokes
May 13, 2018

He could not end his life in Australia, where assisted suicide is not legal, so took a one-way ticket from Perth to France last week to see relatives before arriving in Switzerland, where it is permitted.

Goodall was apparently eager to begin the process of ending his life on Thursday morning, reportedly quipping, "What are we waiting for?" as his family completed the necessary paperwork.

The 104-year-old said he hoped the widespread interest in his case would spur Australia and other countries to rethink their legislation.

A noted ecologist and botanist, 104-year-old David Goodall reportedly took his final breaths as the song he chose, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", came to a close.

To end his own life, Goodall had to turn a wheel that allowed a lethal infusion to flow into his bloodstream through a cannula on his arm.

"I greatly regret having reached that age", he said upon reaching his 104th birthday.

His last words before losing consciousness were: 'This is taking an awfully long time.' He died at 12.30pm in Liestal where he took advantage of Swiss assisted-suicide laws.

"My life has been out in the field (working), but I can't go out in the field now", said Goodall, who needs a wheelchair and walking frame to get around, during an interview at his Basel hotel.

Although the reputed scientist was not terminally ill, he motivated his decision to opt for assisted suicide by citing his deteriorating quality of life, reports the BBC.

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Swiss doctors are divided on the issue of assisted suicide.

Goodall was an advocate for assisted dying for years as a member of Exit International; the group helped arrange his trip to Switzerland.

Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalise the practice past year.

Goodall, a distinguished ecologist who retired in 1979, is frail but not terminally ill.

Dr Goodall told reporters on Wednesday: One should be free to choose the death, when death is at an appropriate time. He added: "I no longer want to continue life".

Earlier this year, however, Goodall fell while home alone in his one-bedroom apartment and remained on the floor for two days until he was found by his cleaner, The New Daily reported.

Dr Goodall was born in London in 1914 and moved in 1948 to Australia, where he was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne.

The Alpine nation has three assisted suicide organizations catering to foreigners: Dignitas, Basel's Life Circle and Ex International in Bern (no relation to Exit International).

According to the Exit International website, Goodall requested that his body be donated to medicine and that his ashes be spread locally.

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