104-year-old scientist ends his life at Swiss clinic

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

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

Scientist David Goodall, 104, has died after choosing to end his life at a clinic in Switzerland, a right-to-die organisation says.

Goodall ended his life at a Swiss clinic by administering a lethal drug under the guidance of doctors, according to a spokesperson for the pro-euthanasia group Exit International, CNN reported. And in his final minutes, he listened to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, best known for its last movement Ode to Joy, reportedly passing away shortly after the piece of music finished. "I am content to leave them undone".

After being given the final OK by a Swiss doctor, the professor was able to book in for his own death.

"He nearly became a little impatient at the end, having to go through quite a few necessary formal steps that are part of the process", Philip Nitschke, founder of right-to-die group Exit International, told AAP.

"Any person who for commendable motives, and in particular out of compassion for the victim, causes the death of a person at that person's own genuine and insistent request is liable to a custodial sentence not exceeding three years or to a monetary penalty".

Switzerland, like many other countries, has not passed legislation legalising assisted suicide; but under some circumstances, its laws do not forbid it.

Critics have said that Goodall's death was not simply a personal choice, but a political one that could have devastating consequences on vulnerable populations such as the elderly, the poor, and the disabled.

Terminal illness is "the wedge issue that most people can agree on, that opens the door", he said.

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Only a handful of countries have legalized assisted suicide or euthanasia, including Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

He was greeted at the Swiss airport on Monday by euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke, who helped the science professor and Order of Australia recipient fast-track his application to Swiss association Life Circle.

The scientist, who was not terminally ill, had asked for no funeral or remembrance ceremony.

Afterward, Goodall said he was considered incapable of looking after himself.

The Perth great-grandfather departed Australia on Wednesday last week and spent time with family in Bordeaux, France, over the weekend, before travelling to the town of Basel in Switzerland, where assisted dying is legal.

"We must be very careful with life", she said. The incident sparked global discussion about the treatment of elderly workers, and the university subsequently reversed its decision.

Goodall said he thought it was time for him to die.

He will end his life at 10am on Thursday, local time, with family members by his side. "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.

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