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Godfather of ecstasy' Dr Alexander Shulgin dies aged 88

By Mirror | June 4th 2014 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Mirror

The chemical scientist reinvented the illegal party drug and made and tested hundreds of other substances on himself in the swinging '60s.

The “Godfather of ecstasy” who reinvented the illegal party drug has died from liver cancer.

Chemical scientist Alexander Shulgin earned his nickname after honing a way to make the pill - and testing it out on himself to check it had worked.

His wife and research partner Ann made the announcement on Facebook saying he died "surrounded by family and caretakers and Buddhist meditation music".

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American Shulgin, who was 88, began his research as a teenager while studying at Harvard University.

Following a brief stint in the US Navy during World War Two he returned to Berkeley to get his PhD in biochemistry at the University of California close to where he grew up.

Initially his work involved creating the world's first biodegradable pesticide but away from his job he began experimenting with psychoactive compounds.

He tested out his new creations on himself, inviting small groups of close friends to join him in the tasting sessions.

During the swinging '60s, he says he made and tested hundreds of concoctions.

Then in 1976, Shulgin was introduced to the compound MDMA by a graduate student in the medicinal chemistry group he advised at San Francisco State University.

Shulgin decided to start human trials - again, starting with himself.

Once he had fine-tuned his recipe, he introduced the chemical to a psychologist from Oakland called Leo Zeff.

And Zeff introduced Shulgin to a therapist called Ann, who later became Shulgin's wife.

Zeff used small doses of the substance in his practise as an aid to talk therapy, and introduced it to hundreds of psychologists across the nation.

The mind altering affects were then discovered by a much larger community making it a popular drug of choice among festival goers and ravers.

In 2008 Shulgin underwent heart surgery to replace a defective aortic valve before two years later suffering a stroke which he fully recovered from.

At the time he also began showing early signs of dementia, mostly severe loss of short-term memory.

With progression of the dementia since 2010, his wife Ann Shulgin had been trying to sell part of their property to raise more money to cover care costs.

Ecstasy Alexander Shuligin
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