104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall ends life

104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall ends life

The practice is frowned upon by many doctors and others who say it should be reserved for the terminally ill.

The ecologist, who was born in England and moved to Australia, also had a final meal of fish and chips with cheesecake for dessert.

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.

He had traveled to Switzerland from his home in Perth, in Western Australia, because he wanted to die by assisted suicide, which is not allowed in Australia, but is in Switzerland.

Professor Goodall did not have a terminal illness but his quality of life had deteriorated in recent years.

He was accompanied by Dr Philip Nitschke, founder of Australian right-to-die group Exit International, and Swiss clinic Life Circle's lawyer Moritz Gall.

"There's not going to be many people who have either the ability or the money or the willingness to go through what is quite a long and hard journey", Dr Nitschke said from Switzerland.

This is the first time a relatively healthy person has chose to pursue euthanasia, as most who choose to do so suffer from terminal illnesses. "All the publicity that this has been receiving can only, I think, help the cause of euthanasia for the elderly, which I want".

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"I'm content to leave them undone", he added.

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

Exit International's Dr Nitschke said voluntary euthanasia laws in Australia are "extremely restrictive".

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

He further explained, "My abilities have been declining over the past year or two, and my eyesight for the past five or six years, and I no longer want to continue life".

"But I was considered incapable of looking after myself".

An honorary research associate at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Goodall produced dozens of research papers and continued to publish after his retirement.

The centenarian retained his sense of humor up to the very end and even wore a top inscribed with the words "Ageing Disgracefully" during his meeting with the press on Tuesday.

University officials later reversed their decision.

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