Renowned British botanist David Goodall died at 104 years old via medically assisted suicide on Thursday afternoon in a suicide clinic in Switzerland.
The assisted suicide advocacy group Exit International, founded by Philip Nitschke aka “Doctor Death,” announced that medical personnel declared Goodall dead at 12:30 p.m. local time in the town of Liestal, just outside Basel, according to The Sun. Goodall traveled from Australia to Switzerland to kill himself with the assistance of Life Circle clinic, saying that he stopped enjoying life “five or 10 years ago” because of his inability to walk and his failing eyesight.
He had attempted suicide three times, but Australian medical professionals saved him. Australian law currently forbids medically assisted suicide.
Goodall was apparently eager to begin the process of ending his life on Thursday morning, reportedly quipping, “What are we waiting for?” as his family completed the necessary paperwork.
His final words were, “This is taking an awfully long time.”
Goodall ate a final meal of fish and chips and cheesecake before dying. He answered a series of questions from medical personnel on site to establish that he was of sound mind and understood what was happening. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony played in the background.
Medical personnel then administered a fatal dose of Nembutal.
“One should be free to choose death, when death is at an appropriate time,” Goodall told reporters at a Wednesday press conference, according to The Sun. “My abilities have been in decline over the past year or two, my eyesight over the past six years. I no longer want to continue life. I’m happy to have the chance tomorrow to end it.”
Goodall arranged a fast-track appointment with Life Circle clinic after telling them he “deeply regretted” living as long as he had. Exit International assisted him in doing so and raised the necessary funds for his travel and for his suicide. Nitschke, the organization’s founder, accompanied Goodall along with his family members during his final days.
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.
Goodall described his current state of living to CNN as perpetual sitting punctuated by meals — a way of living that seemed intolerable to him after a life of working in the field.
“My life has been out in the field (working), but I can’t go out in the field now,” he told CNN on Tuesday. “I would love to be able to walk into the bush again, and see what is all around me. I could still enjoy birdsong, But my lack of vision would seriously impair it.”
Goodall was a father of four and a grandfather of 12 and was married three times. He was born in the U.K. in April 1914, just before the outbreak of World War I, and moved from London to Australia as a child. He held academic positions in the U.K., U.S., and Australia, retired in 1979 and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2016.
He requested his body be donated to science or that he be cremated and his ashes spread near where he died.
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