David Goodall, Australia’s oldest scientist, ended his own life on Thursday, May 10, at a clinic in Switzerland, surrounded by family and while listening to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
It was gathered that the British-born 104-year-old professor was forced to travel on a one-way ticket from his home in Western Australia to Switzerland where liberal assisted dying laws allowed him to end his life legally, in contrast to Australia where it remains forbidden.
He joked “what are we waiting for?” as his relatives filled out witness paperwork at the assisted suicide clinic.
During his final hours on Earth, Goodall enjoyed his favourite dinner: fish and chips and cheesecake.
But 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.
He was accompanied to the clinic of the Swiss assisted dying organisation Life Circle by Dr Philip Nitschke, the founder of the Australian right-to-die group Exit International.
To end his own life, Goodall had to turn a wheel that allowed a lethal infusion to flow into his bloodstream through a cannula on his arm.
Nitschke said the professor did this “after answering questions which said he knew who he was, where he was and what he was about to do, and he answered these questions with great clarity.
“In fact his last words were: ‘This is taking an awfully long time!’”
Nitschke said Goodall was declared dead at 12:30 p.m. in Liestal, a town outside the city of Basel.
Photo credit: Associated Press