Dr. Frank Gollan, a pioneer in the battle against polio, committed suicide with his wife by taking an overdose of pills at their south Dade County retirement home, family members said.

Gollan, 78, and his wife Alice, 81, died sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, said Andy Gollan, a son who is a spokesman for the Dade County public school system.Frank Gollan left a note explaining that they both were despondent about their failing health.

The note also left instructions that they were to be cremated and their ashes spread over the ocean.

"It was well-prepared. My father was, after all, a man of medicine. He knew exactly what to do," Andy Gollan said.

He said they were not as afraid of dying as they were that one might die and leave the other alone.