Skip to main content

See also:

Alexander Shulgin dead at 88: 'Godfather of Ecstasy' and a 'genius' in chemistry

Alexander Shulgin dead at 88, he died of liver cancer at home in California.
Alexander Shulgin dead at 88, he died of liver cancer at home in California.
Getty Images

Alexander Shulgin has died at 88-years-old. He was a highly respected biochemist and the chemist who took the original 1912 recipe for the drug "ecstasy" and revamped it for use in the mental health field. He and his wife lived on a rural farm in Lafayette, California, where his lab is located and his many psychedelic drug creations and experiments took place.

According to Fox News on June 4, Shulgin died at this home with his family and friends around him at the farm he called home for decades. His wife, Ann Shulgin, said that he died from liver cancer.

Shulgin was famous for his psychedelic drug experiments, which he would develop in his lab at home. His experiments with the drugs were done at his sprawling residence about 22 miles east of San Francisco, according to MSN News today.

He had created more than 200 chemical compounds in his lifetime, often trying them out on himself, his wife or a group of his friends. Shulgin did not create Ecstasy, as it is a drug first made in 1912 and then taken out of circulation. Shulgin "dusted off" the old recipe of the drug and recreated it for use as a possible mental health treatment.

Shulgin and his wife published two books on chemical compounds. Ecstasy, or MDMA was a drug that Shulgin believed could help when used as therapy for people with mental health ailments. He was unhappy to see it become a recreational drug and abused. He is referred to today in headlines as the "God Father of Ecstasy," as MSN News suggests.

Besides his years of schooling to become a biochemist, Shulgin also served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He worked for Dow Chemical Company for years. He developed several top-selling biodegradable pesticides and Dow allowed him to open a personal laboratory to use for his own personal wishes.

This is when Shulgin chose to explore the psychoactive compounds. After leaving Dow in the '60s, he continued with his psychoactive research while teaching at universities around the San Francisco area.

Ann called her husband a "genius." He was the scientist and I was the psychologist" during their 35-years together. His residence was the destination for many pilgrimages made by students and teachers in the last 40 years.

Shulgin was highly respected in the medicine, academic and chemists communities.