Scientist Dr David Goodall, 104, ends his life at Swiss clinic

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

"One should be free to choose the death, when death is at an appropriate time", said Prof Goodall, who wore a jumper emblazoned with the words "Aging Disgracefully".

Dr Goodall's three other grandchildren who live in France were joined by another grandchild, Duncan Goodall, who flew in from his home in New Haven, Connecticut, US. What is sad is if one is prevented. "My abilities have been declining over the past year or two, and my eyesight for the past five or six years, and I no longer want to continue life", Goodall said.

In most countries, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are illegal.

David Goodall, who is not terminally ill, happily sang a few bars of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at a news conference Wednesday on the eve of his assisted suicide in Basel.

David Goodall, who is now 104, does not have a terminal illness but his quality of life has deteriorated and he has secured a fast-track appointment with an assisted dying agency in Basel, euthanasia advocates said. For years, Australia has banned such practices, but in November, the state of Victoria became the first to pass a euthanasia bill, which, by summer 2019, will allow terminally ill patients to end their lives.

Hundreds of people, many of them cancer patients, come to the small Alpine country each year to take their lives with help. The decades-old legislation that authorized the practice also says, somewhat vaguely, that people who help others to die can not do so for "selfish" reasons. He said he planned to die Thursday, probably around midday, putting an end to a life that, he said, has become increasingly hard to live.

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Still, the medical association is contemplating whether to ease its reservations about making assisted suicide an option for anyone besides the terminally ill, such as by possibly accepting that frail elderly people - like, say, willing people over age 80 - could take part.

A long-time member of Philip Nitschke's Exit International organisation, Dr Goodall was able to find support for his request for assisted suicide overseas. Although he did not break any bones, he was unable to get up from the floor and remained there for two days.

"I don't feel that anyone else's choice is involved", he said. "It's very good that they shall be here to see me off".

Goodall told a press conference in Basel that he hoped his story would lead to more liberal laws in Australia, where assisted suicide is not legal.

He assured the gathered press that he had no regrets about the decision he had made.

Dr Goodall believes people should be able to decide for themselves if they want to use medicine to die.

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