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

David Goodall, a 104-year-old Australian scientist has ended his life. The Life Circle clinic in Basel, which assisted him announced his death on Thursday.

Goodall — a respected botanist and ecologist with a speciality in arid shrublands — travelled to Europe from his home town of Perth earlier this month after being barred from seeking help to end his life in Australia.

The renowned scientist said he wanted to die because his quality of life had deteriorated significantly.

In an interview with CNN, the thrice-married father-of-four said, “I would love to be able to walk into the bush again, and see what is all around me.”

“I could still enjoy birdsong,” he added. “But my lack of vision would seriously impair it.”

“One should be free to choose the death, when death is at an appropriate time,” he said.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Goodall said, “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.”

READ MORE: Suicide and the violence of our words

Euronews reported that Goodall had planned to die by lethal injection with some of his family members present in his final moments.

“I would have preferred to have (ended) it in Australia, and I greatly regret that Australia is behind Switzerland” when it comes to right-to-die laws, he said.

Euthanasia is illegal in most countries, but several states in the United States have a form of doctor-assisted suicide, as do a small number of countries including Japan, Belgium and Switzerland. The Australian state of Victoria is planning to allow assisted dying from mid-2019. Western Australia is currently debating whether to introduce the policy.

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

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