Parting Words From 104-Year-Old on Eve of His Suicide

David Goodall hopes effort to end his life will help others
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2018 10:59 AM CDT
He Plans to Die Tomorrow. Here Are His Last Thoughts
104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall speaks during a press conference in Basel, Switzerland, on Wednesday.   (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone via AP)

(Newser) – David Goodall is now in Basel, Switzerland, and he'll only be there one more day: He plans to end his life via assisted suicide on Thursday. Though he welcomes death, the 104-year-old Australian botanist and ecologist hopes his legacy will soon be strengthened by the legalization of assisted suicide in countries that ban the practice outright or limit it to those with terminal illnesses. Goodall doesn't have one—he speaks of poor eyesight and mobility issues that keep him confined to a wheelchair—and thus had to fly 8,600 miles from his home in Perth to end his life at Basel's Life Circle clinic. More details and highlights from what will be Goodall's last interviews:

  • "I am glad to arrive," Goodall told reporters Monday at an airport in Switzerland, after a short visit with relatives in France, per the Local. The trip was made possible with $20,000 from a GoFundMe campaign. Of his newfound celebrity, he added, "I'm happy about it. People should talk about what I am doing."
  • Goodall tells the AP that life-ending drugs should be free and available with a doctor's prescription after middle age. The scientist, who doesn't believe in an afterlife, said he has tried to take his own life at least three times, "clumsily," per the AP. He tells CNN that his last attempt took place just a few weeks ago; he came to in a hospital.

story continues below

  • It's "cruel" that "they oblige one to stay alive, when one hasn't got anything to live for," Goodall says to CNN, which cites him as saying he would have preferred to die when his driver's license was revoked a decade ago. "At my age, I get up in the morning. I eat breakfast. And then I just sit until lunchtime. Then I have a bit of lunch and just sit. What's the use of that?"
  • SBS reports two doctors, an anesthesiologist and a psychiatrist, examined Goodall on Tuesday and Wednesday and found he makes his decision with a lucid mind.
  • Doctors will put an intravenous needle in Goodall's arm Thursday, but he will be the one to administer the fatal dose of sodium pentobarbital, reports the AFP. The sedative, which can also be swallowed, causes the heart to stop beating. "Falling asleep occurs within a few minutes. Death usually follows within half an hour," per Life Circle.
  • "I'm looking forward to it," Goodall tells CNN, which captures him dressed in a sweater reading, "Aging Disgracefully." When the time comes, "I'll be thinking about the needle and hoping they aim right!"
  • At his final news conference Wednesday he said he has no doubts "whatsoever" about what is to take place Thursday. USA Today reports he was asked what he would choose as his last song and answered by singing "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in German. Goodall added that he would spend his final hours with his grandson Daniel.
  • CNN also looks back at Goodall's life. Among his accolades: an Order of Australia medal.
(Read more assisted suicide stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.