‘He has gone in peace’ | Sunday Observer

‘He has gone in peace’

Making the most of it: David Goodall tours the Basel University Botanical Gardens with three of his grandchildren and two of their partners the day before his planned assisted suicide
Making the most of it: David Goodall tours the Basel University Botanical Gardens with three of his grandchildren and two of their partners the day before his planned assisted suicide

British scientist who regretted living to 104 dies in Swiss suicide clinic surrounded by his family

May 10: British scientist Dr David Goodall, 104, died at Swiss suicide clinic at 11.40am on Thursday morning, medical staff confirmed.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was played in the room at the suicide clinic in Liestal, near Basel, as Dr Goodall took a fatal overdose of a sleeping drug.

A clinic spokesman said he ‘had gone in peace’, and had been surrounded by a handful of family members and a friend as he wished.

Dr Goodall, who spent most of his life in Australia, had arrived at the clinic just before 11am this morning, after enjoying a final meal of fish and chips and cheesecake - his favourite - in his hotel on Wednesday night.

The eminent biologist, who had said he had grown tired of living with deteriorating health, would have opened a valve allowing the drug to flow into his body – with death coming in less than a minute.

He consumed his final meal at his hotel in Basel last night, as friends and family, who have flown in to support him and say their goodbyes, toasted to his last evening on earth.

His grandsons Daniel and Duncan Goodall had told Mail Online they would be by his bedside when the fatal overdose was to be administered.

It is thought he will be cremated in Switzerland and his ashes flown back to Australia.

Yesterday, Dr Goodall was seen spending his last day alive touring the Basel University Botanical Gardens with his grandchildren, who later spoke to MailOnline.

Daniel Goodall, 30, told MailOnline: ‘ I feel very privileged that I will be able to be there when my grandfather passes away.

‘He is so brave and I am so glad that he has been able to make his own choice.

‘It is his wish that he can end his life, but such a shame that he was not allowed to do it in his own country.’

Dr Goodall’s grandson said the visit to Bordeaux, France, over the weekend was to allow the 104-year-old to rest after the long flight from Australia.

Three other grandchildren, who also live in France, had also travelled to Switzerland, as well as a fifth grandchild, Duncan Goodall, who flew in from his home in New Haven, Connecticut.

Speaking yesterday, Duncan, 36, said he too would be by his grandfather’s side. ‘I think what he is doing is incredibly brave. My grandfather has approached this as a completely rational way and not let any emotion get in the way.

‘He wants to die and he wants to die on his own terms. The fact that he is doing this so publicly shows how brave he is.’

Both grandsons told Mail Online they will find it hard to keep their emotions in check as their grandfather’s final day comes.

Duncan added; ‘It is going to be hard and I really don’t know how I will feel on the day.’

In his last public comments about his death Dr Goodall spoke at a press conference in Basel where he again emphasised his desire to end his life.

Asked if he had a moment’s hesitation he replied instantly:’ None whatsoever.’.

Dr Goodall said: ‘I no longer want to continue with my life and am happy to have the chance to end it.’

Dr Goodall, who until his retirement at 102 was the oldest working scientist, said he hoped his very public passge to dying would help change the law in Australia.

He was able to fly to Switzerland after Exit International raised more than £10,000 by a crowd funding appeal.

The cost of dying at the clinic run by Life Cycle is around £8,000.

Dr Goodall had become determined to die after his quality of life worsened with age as he lost the ability to walk.

‘My recent life has not been enjoyable,’ he told reporters after arriving in Switzerland.

Dr Goodall said he has been considering suicide for 20 years, and said a lack of mobility was one of the reasons he wanted to take his own life, despite not being sick.

He said he has tried to kill himself three times, but after failing he decided to seek professional assistance at the Life Circle clinic.

Switzerland’s assisted-suicide laws mean people are able to take their own lives, unlike in his home-country.

Dr Goodall had said he believes people should be able to decide for themselves if they want to use medicine to die.

‘I wouldn’t suggest that it’s available to everyone, and just going and buying it off the shelf,’ he said.

‘I think there are plenty of people who might misuse that. But I would accept that it should be done by doctors’ prescription — but they should be free to prescribe.’

Dr Goodall was born in London in 1914, and completed his PhD in 1941, at the University of London, now Imperial College London, on the tomato plant. He came to Australia in 1948 taking up a lecturing position at the University of Melbourne.

There he gained another PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1953, before working as a university professor in the UK and the US.

Dr Goodall turned 104 in April, after which he decided to access voluntary euthanasia in Switzerland.

- dailymail.co.uk

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