LOS ANGELES : American chemist Alexander Shulgin, known as the ‘Godfather of ecstasy’ for turning an obscure chemical into a widely-used party drug, has died aged 88, his family said. ‘Sasha died, he was surrounded by family and caretakers and Buddhist meditation music, and his going was graceful, with almost no struggle at all,’ his widow Ann said on Facebook in a statement posted early Tuesday. The octogenarian, who lived in California and studied chemistry at Harvard and Berkeley, suffered from liver cancer.

 Shulgin developed an interest in the swinging 1960s in so-called psychoactive chemicals, testing hundreds of them including anti-depressants, aphrodisiacs and stimulants on himself and his friends.