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Albert Hofmann, LSD, Obituary

Bunk/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who invented LSD, died Tuesday at home in Basel, Switzerland. He was 102.

Rick Doblin, founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, told the New York Times that the cause of death was a heart attack. Hofmann synthesized the psychedelic drug in 1938, but didn't realize its other effects until five years later when he accidentally ingested the substance that would become known as acid during the 1960s.

He proceeded to ingest LSD hundreds of times, but warned that it was a powerful drug that "demanded" respect, according to the Times. He valued its ability to apparently help people better understand humanity's relationship with nature more than its psychotropic effects.

In his book, LSD: My Problem Child, Hofmann wrote that he went on to study chemistry because he wanted to explore how life came to be through the combination of energy and elements. He earned his Ph.D. in 1929 when he was just 23 years old. He then moved on to a job with Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, which was focusing on synthesizing pharmaceutical compounds from plants.  

Although his work produced other important drugs, Hofmann's discovery of LSD will forever be what he's remembered for.

"Through my LSD experience and my new picture of reality, I became aware of the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature and of the animal and plant kingdom," he said during an interview in 1984. "I became very sensitive to what will happen to all this and all of us."

He and his wife Anita, who died recently, raised four children together in Basel. One child passed away at age 53 of alcoholism. He is survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In 2006, Hofmann said that all of his LSD trips didn't affect his understanding of death.

"I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that's all," he said.