On his final day, before he went to a Swiss clinic to die, David Goodall spoke about his 104 years of life — and his scheduled death.
The Australian scientist, who had traveled to Switzerland to end his life because euthanasia isn’t legal in his homeland, answered questions about his well-publicized plans for an assisted suicide: Did he want to eat anything in particular for his last meal? He didn’t know. Did he want any special song played at his bedside? He wasn’t sure — but if he had to choose one, it would be the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
Then, the 104-year-old man burst spontaneously into song, singing in German:
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
In accordance with his plan, Goodall died Thursday at an assisted-suicide clinic, putting an end to a life that, he said, had become increasingly difficult to live.
Around midday, an IV was placed into Goodall’s arm, allowing him to turn a wheel to let the lethal drugs to flow into his bloodstream, according to Exit International, an Australian nonprofit that advocates for the legalization of euthanasia.
“David fell asleep within a few minutes,” Exit International said in a statement, which noted that he was accompanied by his grandchildren.
The “Ode to Joy” of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony began to play in German.
Then, just as the song concluded, Goodall died, said the nonprofit’s founder, Philip Nitschke.
“David Goodall is exactly the sort of member that Exit is made of and is proud of,” Nitschke said. “It was a wonderful experience to know him and be so intimately involved in his final weeks of life.”
The organization’s statement added that Goodall “has requested that his body be donated to medicine and, if not, that his ashes be sprinkled locally. He wishes to have no funeral, no remembrance service or ceremony. David has no belief in the afterlife.”
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