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David Goodall, 104, Scientist Who Fought to Die on His Terms, Ends His Life

May 9, 2018

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. I’m content to leave them undone.”

Pressed about what he would miss, he allowed, “I have been missing for a long time my journeys into the Australian countryside, but I haven’t been able to do that for quite a while”

He was asked about his last meal. “I’m rather limited in my culinary enjoyment nowadays,” he responded. “I don’t find that I can enjoy my meals as I used to.”

David Goodall, 104, Scientist Who Fought to Die on His Terms, Ends His LifeDavid Goodall, 104, Scientist Who Fought to Die on His Terms, Ends His Life

On Thursday, he received a fatal dose of a barbiturate intravenously. In order to comply with Swiss law that bans the interference of third parties in the process, he opened the valve to release the solution himself and fell asleep, dying soon after. Some of his grandchildren were with him in his final hours, Exit International said.

He wanted no funeral and no remembrance service, and he asked that his body be donated to medicine or his ashes sprinkled locally, according to Exit. Mr. Goodall did not believe in the afterlife, the organization said.

How would he like to be remembered? “As an instrument of freeing the elderly from the need to pursue their life irrespective,” he said at the news conference on Wednesday.

At one point, he was asked what tune he would choose for his last song, and he said the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Then he began to sing, with verve and vigor.

According to Mr. Nitschke, Mr. Goodall did end up choosing Beethoven, and he died the moment “Ode to Joy” concluded.

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