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

Arturo Kim
May 13, 2018

Australia's oldest scientist David Goodall showed humour and a twinge of impatience before he died in Switzerland from assisted suicide, uttering the last words: "This is taking a long time".

Physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia remains illegal in many countries, including Australia, though the state of Victoria became the first to pass a euthanasia bill last November to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives.

Dr Goodall had arrived at the clinic just before 11am on Thursday morning and enjoyed a final meal of fish and chips and cheesecake, which was his favourite.

Exit International, which represented the scientist, said Goodall passed away while listening to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".

He was accompanied to the clinic of the Swiss assisted dying organisation Life Circle by Dr Philip Nitschke, the founder of the Australian right-to-die group Exit International.

Asked if there was anything he still wanted to do, he said: "There are many things I would like to do, of course, but it's too late".

Nitschke revealed in a Tweet that David Goodall died peacefully in Basel. "I am happy to have the chance tomorrow to end it, and I appreciate the help of the medical profession here in making that possible", he said.

Assisted suicide has also led to euthanasia - where legalized and elderly, disabled people, and mentally ill people are being euthanized against their will.

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This is the first time a relatively healthy person has made a decision to pursue euthanasia, as most who choose to do so suffer from terminal illnesses.

"They will no longer be viewed as preventable tragedies but rational (ways) to end a life of suffering", he said.

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.

"My abilities have been declining over the past year or two". Exit International assisted him in doing so and raised the necessary funds for his travel and for his suicide.

Goodall was born in London in 1914 and moved in 1948 to Australia, where he was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne.

In the US, seven states allows physician-assisted suicide - California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington according to Huffington

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.

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