104-year-old scientist ends life at a Swiss clinic with one last powerful statement
A 104-year-old scientist who vehemently campaigned for the legalisation of euthanasia has ended his life at a Swiss clinic, after giving one final powerful statement on assisted suicide. David Goodall, a respected Australian botanist and ecologist, died Thursday at the Life Circle clinic in Basel, Switzerland, after administering a lethal drug under the guidance of doctors.
Exit International, an international non-profit organisation which advocates for the legalisation of euthanasia and represented the scientist, said that he passed away while listening to Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
Four family members and a close friend had reportedly travelled to be at his side when he ended his life, and staff at the clinic in Basel told reporters that he had "gone in peace".
The day before he died, Goodall revealed he had no doubts about going through with his plan and hoped his much-publicised case would raise awareness about the issues of aging and dying. At a press conference held the day before his death, he spoke to reporters from his wheelchair, telling them he hoped "something positive" came from his story.
Asked if he had any doubts - even fleeting - while wearing a jumper with the words "Aging Disgracefully", he said, "None whatsoever" and went onto state: "My abilities and eyesight are declining, and I no longer want to live this way. I hope something positive will come out of my story and that other countries will adopt a more liberal view of assisted suicide. I'd like to be remembered as an instrument for freeing the elderly to choose their own death."
In addition, he told the packed news conference: "There are many things I would like to do, but it's too late. I'm content to leave them undone... One should be free to choose the death, when death is at an appropriate time... I no longer want to continue life."
Goodall had arrived in Basel on Monday after flying from his home in Perth, Australia, where assisted suicide is banned.
His struggle to be allowed to die had reached thousands and he had raised over $20,000 in donations from the public to help fund his journey to Europe from Perth.
Currently, assisted suicide is only legal in a small number of countries, including Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands. However, in these countries, euthanasia laws only apply to people living there with incurable diseases.
Switzerland’s right-to-die legislation is much broader: it does not exclude foreigners and gives patients the option to end their life if they have psychological or physical problems associated with age.