Eminent Belgian scientist Christian de Duve, a winner of the Nobel prize for medicine, died Saturday aged 95 after committing euthanasia, which is legal in Belgium, his family said.
De Duve was the second well-known Belgian to choose mercy killing after the death in 2008 of writer Hugo Claus. Belgium was the second country in the world after The Netherlands to legalise euthanasia in 2002.
"It would be an exaggeration to say I'm not afraid of death, but I'm not afraid of what comes after because I'm not a believer. When I disappear I will disappear, there'll be nothing left," he told the Belgian daily Le Soir just a month ago.
De Duve had decided to commit euthanasia after suffering a fall in his home but was awaiting the arrival of his son from the United States in early May in order to die surrounded by family.
"He left us serenely and refused to take anti-anxiety pills before the final injection. He left with a smile and a good-bye," his daughter Francoise told Le Soir.
De Duve, who studied medicine and chemistry, picked up the 1974 Nobel with fellow Belgian Albert Claude and American George Palade for research on cancer.