His wife posted a message on Facebook stating that he died peacefully, ‘surrounded by family and caretakers and Buddhist meditation music’.

Shulgin simplified the manufacturing process for MDMA and introduced it to psychologists after 1976, with its medicinal value in mind. Over the next decade, MDMA gained momentum around the world as a component of the party drug ‘ecstasy’.

Countries like the United States and Australia banned the sale, manufacture and possession of MDMA in the mid 1980s, following some cases of deaths from heatstroke, heart failure and chemical impurities in ecstasy pills.

The drug was banned in the UK in 1977 before it became widely used.

Shulgin supported the decriminalisation of MDMA. In 1995, speaking about his experiments, he told the LA Times: “I’m very confident that there will come a time when this work will be recognised for its medical value.”

MDMA continues to be tested in clinical trials for its psychotherapeutic effects, with some studies suggesting that it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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