David Goodall, Australia’s oldest scientist, has ended his own life at the age of 104.
According to The Guardian, Goodall ate fish and chips and cheesecake and listened to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Ode to Joy) in the moments before his death.
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.
Although he was not terminally ill, Goodall said his eyesight and movement had deteriorated and his life stopped being enjoyable “five or 10 years ago”.
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.
Goodall has been campaigning for assisted dying in Australia, and according to Nitschke, was frustrated by the formalities leading up to his death. “In fact his last words were: ‘This is taking an awfully long time!’” Nitschke said.
Goodall, while he was alive, had said: “What I would like is for other countries to follow Switzerland’s lead and make these facilities available to all clients, if they meet the requirements, and the requirements not just of age, but of mental capacity.”
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.