A 104-year-old scientist David Goodall bid farewell to his home in Australia to fly across the world to end his life.
The lauded ecologist and botanist is not suffering from a serious illness but wishes to bring forward his death. Key to his decision, he says, has been his diminishing independence.
“I greatly regret having reached that age,” Dr Goodall said on his birthday last month, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I’m not happy. I want to die. It’s not sad particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented.”
Assisted dying was legalised by one Australian state last year following a divisive debate, but eligibility requires a person be terminally ill. It is illegal in other states.
Dr Goodall says he will travel to a clinic in Switzerland to voluntarily end his life. However, he says he resents having to leave Australia to do so.
The London-born academic had lived on his own in a small flat in Perth, Western Australia, until only a few weeks ago.
He stepped back from full-time employment in 1979, but remained heavily involved in his field of work.
Among his achievements in recent years, Dr Goodall edited a 30-volume book series called Ecosystems of the World and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his scientific work.
In 2016, aged 102, he won a battle to keep working on campus at Perth’s Edith Cowan University, where he was an unpaid honorary research associate.
Accompanying Dr Goodall on his journey out of Australia on Wednesday was his friend, Carol O’Neill, a representative from assisted dying advocacy group Exit International.