Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, pioneer, pharmacologist, author, and medicinal chemist, passed away this evening at the age of 88. He is best known for introducing MDMA, the purest form of ecstasy, to psychologists in the 70s.

Shulgin published the popular TiHkal (Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved) and PiHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved) with his wife, Ann. Shulgin was formerly a chemist for The Dow Chemical Company before he moved on in 1965 to pursue his own research, which he performed at his house in Berkeley, California.

He is credited with having sampled and synthesized over 200 psychedelic drug compounds. Shulgin had suffered a stroke when he turned 85, and an organization had been set up to help to cover health costs.

A great interview with Shulgin entitled "The Last Interview With Alexander Shulgin" by Hamilton Morris was published at VICE in 2010.

According to the Erowid Center, Shulgin "died peacefully surrounded by friends and family."

[Image via Interview Magazine]