Not many people live to see different generations but Australia’s oldest scientist David Goodall managed to. Born in London on April 14, 1914, Goodall has seen the world change through the years. Now aged 104, Goodall, however, doesn’t want to continue living.
Goodall has decided to end his life by traveling to Switzerland to have an assisted suicide. He may not be suffering from any illness but he wants to end it soon as he believes his quality of living will soon deteriorate. On Wednesday, he was surrounded by his family in Perth, including his grandsons, who said their final goodbyes before he got on his flight.
The British-born scientist came to Australia in 1948 to lecture at the University of Melbourne.
He celebrated his 104th birthday early in April.
Goodall is due to die on May 10.
Goodall will stop at Bordeaux, France first to meet with other family before he flies for Switzerland to end his life.
On Wednesday, family and friends said their final goodbyes.
He left Perth with his longtime friend Carol O’Neill.
Goodall wanted to die with dignity at Life Circle, a suicide clinic, in Basel, Switzerland.
He was met by the media at the airport before his flight.
The biologist and ecologist somehow regrets having lived this long.
While many would love the thought of being in this world for long, Goodall, on the other hand, is not at all thrilled about being 104 years old. In an interview with ABC, he said that he hopes people would understand why he needs to do what he’s about to do.
“I would like them to understand it. I am 104 years old so I haven’t got much time left anyway. I might as well not have (my health) getting worse and worse, making me unhappy as it goes.”
According to Goodall’s friend, Carol O’Neill, his unhappiness began in 2016 when he was declared to be unfit to work at Edith Cowan University in Perth, where he is an unpaid honorary research associate. The university was concerned for then 102-year-old Goodall’s safety, especially during his commute.
Goodall may have kept working but he was forced to be moved to a closer work location. Soon enough, he was forced to give up driving and his love for theater due to his declining vision.
O’ Neill explained to BBC how that started Goodall’s road to unhappiness. She said:
“It was just the beginning of the end. He didn’t get to see the same colleagues and friends any more at the old office. He just didn’t have the same spirit and he was packing up all his books. It was the beginning of not being happy anymore.”
The desire to end his life intensified when Goodall had an injury that would require him to receive 24-hour care or be moved to a nursing home.
“He’s an independent man. He doesn’t want people around him all the time, a stranger acting as a carer. He doesn’t want that,” O’Neill continued.
Land Down Under’s oldest working scientist is resentful that he has to travel all the way to Switzerland to die.
Assisted suicide happens to be illegal in most countries. Exit International helped Goodall realize the trip to Switzerland. The not-for-profit organization believes it’s unfair for a lauded citizen to be forced to travel across the continent just to fulfill his wishes.
Exit International offered help by launching a GoFundMe campaign to get Goodall and his companion plane tickets as well as fly business class.
Goodall stopped working full time in 1979 but remained involved in his field of work.
In recent years, the centenarian’s achievements include editing a 30-volume book series titled Ecosystems of the World. For his scientific contribution, Goodall was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
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