104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall ends life

Precious time Dr Goodall speaks to his grandchildren and their partners about some of the plants displayed in the gardens

Goodall was born in London in April 1914, he held high academic positions across the world, including America, United Kingdom and Australia. He was influential in the early development of numerical methods in ecology, particularly the study of vegetation.

Despite not having a terminal illness, David Goodall, who was 104, believed his quality of life had deteriorated and he secured a fast-track appointment with an assisted dying agency in Basel, reigniting the end-of-life debate.

The final words of scientist David Goodall before he lost consciousness at an assisted suicide clinic were "this is taking an awfully long time".

He spoke to journalists at a hotel in Basel on Wednesday, saying he was happy to have the chance have his life "come to an end gracefully" in Switzerland but would have preferred to have it like that back home in Western Australia.

Beethoven's 9th Symphony was played in the room at the suicide clinic in Liestal, near Basel, as he took the fatal overdose of the sleeping drug. He was not terminally ill, but had been a member of Exit International for 20 years.

"I no longer want to continue life", he said. "The decades-old legislation that authorized the practice also says, somewhat vaguely, that people who help others to die can not do so for "selfish" reasons". The grandfather of 12 wanted "no funeral, no remembrance service or ceremony", Exit International noted.

Four family members and a close friend had travelled to be at his side when he ended his life.

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.

The man known as doctor death has become infamous not only for advocating suicide on demand, but also for creating and distributing various suicide kits and life-ending machines, even in countries where medically assisted suicide is forbidden.

University officials later reversed their decision.

"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.

"What I would like", Goodall said, "is for other countries to follow Switzerland's lead and make these facilities available to all clients, if they meet the requirements, and the requirements not just of age, but of mental capacity". "I am content to leave them undone".

He said he hoped his story would "increase the pressure" for governments to change laws around assisted suicide.

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