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

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

The British-born scientist, described by Exit International as its first member, said this week that he had been contemplating the idea of suicide for about 20 years, but only started thinking about it for himself after his quality of life deteriorated over the last year.

With his grandson Daniel and a longtime nurse, Carol O'Neil, at his side, the renowned botanist and ecologist from Perth, Australia, entered the Lifecircle assisted-suicide center in Switzerland and began the final stage of the process by receiving a fatal dose of barbiturates.

Professor Goodall took his own life on Thursday at a clinic near Basel, to the strains of Beethoven's final symphony and surrounded by family.

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

The lauded scientist had traveled to an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland on Monday and died "peacefully" earlier this morning. It takes effect in June 2019.

Dr Goodall ate his favourite dinner of fish and chips, followed by cheesecake, for his last meal on Wednesday evening, Dr Nitschke 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.

Among his achievements in recent years, Mr Goodall edited a 30-volume book series called Ecosystems of the World and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his scientific work.

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.

Matt Valliere, executive director of Patients Rights Action Fund, told CNA in e-mail comments that it would "be a mistake" to use Goodall's death as an example in advocating for legalized assisted suicide.

"My life has been rather poor for the a year ago or so".

He cited a lack of mobility but he was not ill.

"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", he told reporters.

Once named Australia's oldest working scientist, Goodall wished for his body to be donated to medicine or, alternatively, that his ashes be sprinkled locally.

"I greatly regret having reached that age".

Goodall said he hoped his story would lead to the legalisation of assisted dying in other countries.

Goodall was asked whether there was any particular song he wanted played in his final moments.

In the U.S., California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C., have "death with dignity" laws, according to the advocacy group Death with Dignity, although these require a person to have a terminal illness.

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