British scientist, 104, will end his at Swiss suicide clinic today

Family of British scientist, 104, spend their last moments with him as he prepares to end his life at Swiss suicide clinic this morning

  • Dr David Goodall, a world-renowned botanist, is set to die at a suicide clinic in Switzerland on Thursday
  • Dr Goodall will open the valve allowing a lethal dose of a sleeping drug to flow into his body himself
  • He will die at a clinic in an undisclosed location with four family members and a friend by his side

A British scientist will be ending his 104-year-long life a Swiss suicide clinic this morning, surrounded by his grandchildren and the music of Beethoven.

Dr David Goodall, who spent most of his life in Australia, will be speaking to his daughter Karen in Australia for a final farewell over the phone before taking a fatal overdose of the sleeping drug Nembutal.

Dr Goodall was set to end his life by his own hand at a private clinic near the Swiss town of Basel at 9am UK time, but an unspecified delay has he will not be arriving until at least 11am. 

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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

The eminent biologist, who has said he is tired of living with deteriorating health, will then open a valve allowing the drug to flow into his body – with death coming in less than a minute.

Upon arrival at the clinic, he will be shown into a bedroom by members of Life Cycle, the Basel based euthanasia clinic he has paid £8,000 to facilitate his death.

His grandsons Daniel and Duncan Goodall had told Mail Online they will be by his bedside as the fatal overdose is administered.

Dr Goodall was due to open a valve allowing the drug to flow into his body at 9am UK time – with death coming in less than a minute.

A medical team and two police officers will later attend the clinic to certify his death. It is thought he will be cremated in Switerland and his ashes flown back to Australia.

Speaking to a press conference in Basel, Switzerland, yesterday that while he had he had not chosen a special last meal, he might play Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  

Documentary: Dr Goodall gets a hug from Taiwanese actress and television hostess Bowie Tsang during the filming of a documentary film about Goodall

Final day: The 104-year-old British-Australian is a world-renowned botanist and ecologist

Day out in the sun: Daniel Goodall pushes his grandfather’s wheelchair through the Basel University Botanical Gardens

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    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 are in Switzerland, and the group have been joined by another grandchild, Duncan Goodall, who flew in from his home in New Haven, Connecticut.

    Duncan, 36, said he would be by his grandfather’s side when he passes away from assisted suicide.

    ‘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.’ 

    His choice: Dr Goodall travelled to Europe this week to end his life voluntarily at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic

    Precious time: Dr Goodall speaks to his grandchildren and their partners about some of the plants displayed in the gardens 

    Dr Goodall chats with Taiwanese actress and television hostess Bowie Tsang, as they film a a documentary about him

    Legacy: Dr Goodall and the film team recorded footage at Basel University Botanical Gardens

    Both grandsons told Mail Online they will find it hard to keep their emotions in check as the enter the room where Dr Goodall will be injected with the drug.

    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 in 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. 

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      Dr Goodall arrives to hold a news conference a day before he intends to take his own life in assisted suicide, in Basel

      Final message: The scientist speaks during a press conference as his final day approaches

      Dr Goodall was flanked by Philip Nitschke  of pro-euthanasia Exit International and Moritz Gall, a lawyer for Life Circle/Eternal Spirit

      David Goodall held a news conference a day before he intends to take his own life in an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland

      Famous last words: Dr Goodal is wheeled in to address the media one day before he is due to end his life in a Swiss clinic

      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 was now seeking professional assistance at the Life Circle clinic.

      He met with Swiss doctors on Tuesday, and if deemed to be of sound mind he will be administered a lethal cocktail of chemicals.

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

      Dr Goodall celebrated his 104th birthday in early April and decided the time had come access voluntarily euthanasia in Switzerland

      Dr Goodall was born in London in 1914, and is an eminent botanist and ecologist. Pictured, Dr Goodall in the 1950s

      Dr Goodall 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.

      Dr David Goodall is pictured after receiving his Order of Australia, which recognises Australian citizens and others for achievement or meritorious service, in 2016

      Dr Goodall’s grandson, Matt Goodall (far left) on his grandfather’s 104th birthday, is pictured alongside his mother Karen and brother Graham

      Dr Goodall came to Australia in 1948 taking up a lecturing position at the University of Melbourne

      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, and has since decided to access voluntary euthanasia in Switzerland.

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