Raise your glowsticks, everybody. Pioneering pharmacologist and folk hero Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin – best known for introducing MDMA, the purest form of ecstasy, to psychologists in the 70s – passed away yesterday at the age of 88. During his lifestime he synthesized hundreds of new psychoactive chemicals that he first tested on himself and later detailed in the seminal tomes TIHKAL (Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved) and PIHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved, co-authored with his wife and research partner Ann Shulgin.
It was Ann who broke the news on Facebook, saying: “Sasha died today, at exactly 5 o’clock in the afternoon. He was surrounded by family and caretakers and Buddhist meditation music, and his going was graceful, with almost no struggle at all.”
Brilliant man. “Everyone deserves the license to explore the nature of his own soul,” he said.
Here he is talking to VICE about inventing and trying ecstasy for the first time.