The Australian scientist David Goodall has ended his own life at the age of 104 at a clinic in Switzerland.
On the eve of his death, David was asked if he had any moments of hesitation, “even fleeting ones.” he said in a strong voice. “I no longer want to continue life, and I’m happy to have a chance tomorrow to end it.”
Goodall was an honorary research associate at Edith Cowan University in Perth, and was the editor-in-chief of the multi-volume Ecosystems of the World in 1979.
The lauded London-born ecologist and botanist, who was not terminally ill, said the decision had been driven by his deteriorating quality of life.
Mr. Goodall died on Thursday about 12:30 p.m. local time, according to Exit International, a right-to-die organization of which he had been a longtime member.
Mr Goodall’s last meal was his favourite – fish and chips and cheesecake – and in his final minutes he was played Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th symphony.
Mr. Goodall said, “I’ve had a good life.” He was not afraid of death but acknowledged that he previously tried to end his life in Australia.
“It would’ve been much more convenient for everyone if I had been able to,” he said, “but unfortunately it failed.”
The scientist had traveled from Perth, Australia (where it is against the law to end one’s life) to Switzerland to carry out the procedure.
The botanist traveled to France last week to see relatives before arriving at a clinic in Liestal, near Basel.
Dr Philip Nitschke, the founder of the Australian right-to-die group Exit International, who accompanied Goodall to the Swiss hospital, said Goodall, “after answering questions which said he knew who he was, where he was and what he was about to do… with great clarity,” turned a wheel that allowed a lethal dose of sleeping drug Nembutal go into his blood stream.
Mr Goodall arrived in Basel on Monday after visiting relatives in France, and spent his final full day exploring the Basel University botanic gardens with three of his grandchildren.
Exit International said Mr Goodall wanted no funeral and requested that his body be donated to medicine or his ashes sprinkled locally.