Biologist, 104, ends life to Beethoven's Ode To Joy

Biologist, 104, ends life to Beethoven's Ode To Joy

Biologist, 104, ends life to Beethoven's Ode To Joy

A right-to-die group says 104-year-old Australian biologist David Goodall has ended his life in Switzerland.

He said he hoped the widespread interest he generated would spur Australia and other countries to rethink their laws.

Scientist David Goodall has ended his life overnight surrounded by family and friends in Switzerland, aged 104.

During the last minutes of his life, the respected scientist requested to listen to "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.

"I no longer want to continue life", he said.

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.

During his final hours on Earth, Goodall enjoyed his favourite dinner: fish and chips and cheesecake.

What was David Goodall known for?

He stepped back from full-time employment in 1979, but remained heavily involved in his field of work.

The 104-year-old scientist, an accomplished botanist and ecologist, had always been a member of the organization Exit International, an international nonprofit group advocating for the legalization of euthanasia.

At 102, he successfully challenged a demand that he give up his office at Edith Cowan University in Perth.


Mr Goodall said he resented having to leave Australia to end his life.

Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries around the world and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalise the practice a year ago. Switzerland is the only country that offers these services to foreigners.

He spent his final full day exploring the botanic gardens with three of his grandchildren, who said they were proud of his bravery in the face of great public attention and were glad he would die on his own terms.

Reporters at the conference on Wednesday pressed Goodall about whether there was anything that he still wanted to do, or anything that he would miss about life.

"At my age, and even at rather less than my age, one wants to be free to choose the death and when the death is the appropriate time", he said.

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

Where else is assisted dying allowed? OR has seen many abuses since since its legalization of assisted suicide, such as cases of pills changing hands, either intentionally or unknowingly, with lethal results.

Goodall told CNN he would have preferred to have died when he lost his driver's license in 1998, adding that the loss of independence at 84 was a big moment in his life.

In Switzerland, assisted suicide is allowed only if the person assisting acts unselfishly.

Only a handful of countries have legalized assisted suicide or euthanasia, including Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

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