A 104-year-old Australian scientist who said he was sorry to have made it to that ripe old age ended his life voluntarily Thursday in Switzerland — after singing a few bars from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
“I no longer want to continue life,” David Goodall told dozens of journalists who had crammed into a small room at a hotel in the northern Swiss city of Basel on Wednesday, The Local reported.
“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,” he said.
When asked whether he had picked any music to listen to in his final moments, he said he hadn’t thought about it.
“But if I had to choose something, I think it would be the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” he said.
On Thursday, he broke out a verse from the choral symphony “Ode to Joy” in German, and then died from a self-administered lethal injection at the moment the song concluded, according to Exit International, which helped him make his final journey.
Goodall did not suffer from a terminal illness but said his quality of life had deteriorated in recent years and that he wanted to die, though he was barred from committing suicide in Australia.
“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.
He said he hoped the widespread interest he generated would spur Australia and other countries to rethink their laws.
“I would quite like to be remembered as an instrument of freeing the elderly from the need to pursue their life irrespective,” the honorary research associate at Perth’s Edith Cowman University said, according to The Local.
Accompanied by Exit International founder Philip Nitschke, Goodall stopped in Bordeaux, France, to see family before continuing his journey to Basel on Monday.
Goodall made an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide earlier this year.
“It would have been much more convenient for everyone if I had been able to, but unfortunately it failed,” he said.
The oldest scientist Down Under made headlines two years ago when he was declared unfit to be on campus because he was a safety risk to himself.
He challenged the decision and prevailed, though his physical condition has continued to deteriorate, along with his quality of life.
Moritz Gall, a lawyer with assisted-suicide advocacy group Life Circle, stressed to reporters that the centenarian had the option of changing his mind up until the last minute.
But when asked if he had any second thoughts, the renowned ecologist and botanist said: “No. None whatsoever.”
“David fell asleep within a few minutes and died a short time afterwards at around 12:30 p.m.,” Exit International said.
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