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The 104-year-old took his own life on Thursday at a clinic in Basel, to the strains of Beethoven's final symphony and surrounded by family.

Australia's oldest scientist Professor David Goodall has ended his life at a Swiss clinic.

In his final hours, Goodall enjoyed his favourite dinner: fish and chips and cheesecake.

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 legalisation of euthanasia.

"He nearly became a little impatient at the end, having to go through quite a few necessary formal steps that are part of the process", Philip Nitschke, founder of right-to-die group Exit International, told AAP.

"My life has been out in the field (working), but I can't go out in the field now", said Goodall, who needs a wheelchair and walking frame to get around, during an interview at his Basel hotel.

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Although the reputed scientist was not terminally ill, he motivated his decision to opt for assisted suicide by citing his deteriorating quality of life, reports the BBC.

He wanted no funeral and requested that his body be donated to medicine or his ashes sprinkled locally, Exit International said.

Goodall, who was born in London, England, left Australia last week, arriving in Switzerland on Monday after visiting relatives in France on his way.

"My entire life was out in the area (doing work), however that I cannot move from the industry now", said Goodall, who needs a wheel chair and also walking frame to go about, during a meeting in his Basel hotel.

Prof Goodall sang a few bars of the famous piece at his last press conference on Wednesday.

"I greatly regret having reached that age; I would much prefer to be 20 or 30 years younger", he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. during the festivities in April.

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What I would like is for other countries to follow Switzerland's lead and make these facilities available to all clients, if they meet the requirements, and the requirements not just of age, but of mental capacity.

He appeared bemused by public interest in his case.

"I'm looking forward to it", he said of his imminent death. "And a person should not be forced to leave home to achieve it".

Before leaving for Switzerland, he told 9 News Australia family members, including his daughter and three grandsons, were accompanying him on the trip.

"I've no difficulty at all with people opposing it, people are entitled to live their life the way they wish providing that living that life that way doesn't interfere with anybody else's ability to live their life the way they want".

"I think there probably will be a step in the right direction".

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