Right-To-Die Advocate David Goodall Ends Life Listening To 'Ode To Joy'

Day out in the sun One of Dr Goodall's grandchildren pushes his wheelchair through the Basel University Botanical Gardens

Day out in the sun One of Dr Goodall's grandchildren pushes his wheelchair through the Basel University Botanical Gardens

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, a member of the Order of Australia for work as a botanist that included publications on arid shrublands, said he had unsuccessfully tried to kill himself in Australia after his faculties including his hearing deteriorated.

Meanwhile, Switzerland has allowed assisted suicide since 1942. "All the publicity that this has been receiving can only, I think, help the cause of euthanasia for the elderly, which I want". It takes effect in June 2019.

He was visibly frustrated by the process of formal paperwork, and Mr Nitschke later said: "In fact his last words were 'This is taking an awfully long time!'".

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.

There, news of his death prompted debate over his legacy, with some former colleagues suggesting his public suicide fit a personality that did not shy the limelight.

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

Goodall said at a packed news conference on Wednesday that he expected to end his life the next day with some relatives on hand to say goodbye.

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Goodall mentioned that he made the decision because he had no other choice, as Australia does not allow assisted suicide.

Moritz Gall, a lawyer with assisted-suicide advocacy group Life Circle, stressed to reporters that the centenarian had the option of changing his mind up until the last minute.

"At my age, or less than my age, one wants to be free to choose the death when the death is at an appropriate time", Prof Goodall told reporters.

Exit International said Goodall had requested that his body be donated to medicine, or his ashes sprinkled locally.

Last month, he told Australian broadcaster ABC: I greatly regret having reached that age (104)...

Sky's Michelle Clifford said police and coroner officials would now need to visit the clinic to make sure the assisted suicide was carried out properly. But the practice is frowned upon by many doctors and some others who say it should be reserved for the terminally ill.

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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