Scientist David Goodall has ended his life overnight surrounded by family and friends in Switzerland, aged 104.
"Life stopped being enjoyable five or 10 years ago", he said, in part because of his failing mobility and eyesight.
"It's my own choice to end my life. and I look forward to that and am grateful to the Swiss medical profession to make that possible", Goodall said in Basel Wednesday, wearing a shirt bearing the words "Ageing Disgracefully".
The British-born scientist said this week that he had been contemplating the idea of suicide for about 20 years, but only started thinking about it for himself after his quality of life deteriorated over the last year.
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Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, where the procedure is available for anyone who acknowledges in writing that they are taking their lives willingly - without being forced.
Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries around the world and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalise the practice a year ago. Goodall and his supporters want the practice to be more accepted as a legitimate choice for elderly people in sound mind.
Matt Valliere, executive director of Patients Rights Action Fund, told CNA in e-mail comments that it would "be a mistake" to use Goodall's death as an example in advocating for legalized assisted suicide.
The day before, the botanist and ecologist told reporters he was not afraid of death and had no hesitations about ending his life.
The 104-year-old said he hoped the widespread interest in his case would spur Australia and other countries to rethink their legislation. Born in London in April 1914, the reputed scientist elected to end his own life at the age of 104 and traveled to the Swiss clinic earlier this week to prepare for his final moments.
The lethal cocktail is normally ingested, but since Goodall couldn't swallow, the substance was injected intravenously. He said, "If I had to choose something, I think it would be the final movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony", then Goodall burst out with a few bars of the tune in German.
Professor David Goodall at a press conference on May 9, where he discussed his death plan with reporters.
"In fact his last words were: 'This is taking an awfully long time!'". "David has no belief in the afterlife".
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"It was clear he wanted to go out while getting a lot of attention", said Stephen Drake, a research analyst with the advocacy group Not Dead Yet, a disability rights group which opposes the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia "as deadly forms of discrimination". Almost 15 per cent of the cases last year were people under 65 years old.
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