Wikipedia,

Antiquity

Note: Many of these stories are likely to be apocryphal.

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Dracoof Athens

 

c.620 BC

Draco, an Athenian lawmaker, was reportedly smothered to death by gifts of cloaks and hats showered upon him by appreciative citizens at a theatre onAegina.

Charondas

 

Late 7th to early 5th century BC

Charondas was a Greek lawgiver fromSicily.According toDiodorus Siculus, he issued a law that anyone who brought weapons into theAssemblymust be put to death.One day, he arrived at the Assembly after hunting in the countryside with a knife still attached to his belt.In order to uphold his own law, he committed suicide.

ArrhichionofPhigalia

 

564 BC

Arrichion of Phigalia, a Greekpankratiast, caused his own death during theOlympicfinals. Held by his unidentified opponent in a stranglehold and unable to free himself, Arrichion kicked his opponent, causing him so much pain that the opponent made the sign of defeat to the umpires, but at the same time breaking Arrichion's neck. Since the opponent had conceded defeat, Arrichion was proclaimed the victor posthumously.

Sisamnes

 

c. 525 BC

According toHerodotus, Sisamnes was a corrupt judge underCambyses II of Persia. He accepted a bribe and delivered an unjust verdict. As a result, the king had him arrested andflayed alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat in which his son would sit in judgment.

PythagorasofSamos

 

c.495 BC

Ancient sources disagree on how the Greek philosopherPythagorasdied, but one late and probably apocryphal legend reported by bothDiogenes Laërtius, a third-century AD biographer of famous philosophers, andIamblichus, aNeoplatonistphilosopher, states that Pythagoras was murdered by his political enemies.Supposedly, he almost managed to outrun them,but he came to a bean field and refused to run through it because he had prohibited beans as ritually unclean.Since cutting through the field would violate his own teachings, Pythagoras simply stopped running and was killed as a result. This story may have been fabricated byNeanthes of Cyzicus, whom both Diogenes and Iamblichus rely on as a source.

HeraclitusofEphesus

 

c.475 BC

According to one account given by Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was said to have been devoured by dogs after smearing himself with cow manure in an attempt to cure hisdropsy.

Themistocles

 

c.459 BC

Themistocles, the Athenian general who won theBattle of Salamis, actually died of natural causes in exile,but was widely rumored to have committed suicide by drinking bull's blood.Since bull's blood is not actually poisonous,Themistocles cannot have actually died in this way,but the legend is widely retold in classical sources.The early twentieth-century English classicistPercy Gardnerproposed that the story about him drinking bull's blood may have been based on an ignorant misunderstanding of a statue showing Themistocles in a heroic pose, holding a cup as an offering to the gods.The comedic playwrightAristophanesreferences Themistocles drinking bull's blood in his comedyThe Knights(performed in 324 BC) as the most heroic way for a man to die.

Aeschylus

 

c.455 BC

According toValerius Maximus,Aeschylus, the eldest of the three great Atheniantragedians, was killed by atortoisedropped by an eagle that had mistaken his bald head for a rock suitable for shattering the shell of the reptile.Pliny, in hisNaturalis Historiæ, adds that Aeschylus had been staying outdoors to avert a prophecy that he would be killed by a falling object.

EmpedoclesofAkragas

 

c.430 BC

Empedocles of Acragas was aPre-Socratic philosopherfrom the island ofSicily, who, in one of his surviving poems, declares himself to have become a "divine being... no longer mortal".[According to Diogenes Laërtius, he tried to prove he was an immortal god by leaping intoMount Etna, an active volcano.This legend is also alluded to by the Roman poetHorace.

Sophocles

 

c.406 BC

A number of "remarkable" legends concerning the death of Sophocles, another of the three great Athenian tragedians, are recorded in the late antiqueLife of Sophocles.According to one legend, he choked to death on an unripe grape.Another says that he died of joy after hearing that his last play had been victorious.A third account reports that he died of suffocation after reading aloud a lengthy monologue from the end of his playAntigonewithout pausing to take a breath for commas or punctuation.

Mithridates

 

401 BC

Mithridates, a Persian soldier who embarrassed his king,Artaxerxes II, by boasting of killing his rival,Cyrus the Younger(who was the brother of Artaxerxes II), was executed byscaphism. The king's physician,Ctesias, reported that Mithridates survived the insect torture for 17 days.

DemocritusofAbdera

 

c.370 BC

According to Diogenes Laërtius, the GreekAtomistphilosopher Democritus of Abdera died at the age of 109;as he was on his deathbed, his sister was greatly worried because she needed to fulfill her religious obligations to the goddessArtemisin the approaching three-dayThesmophoriafestival. Democritus told her to place a loaf of warm bread under his noseand was able to survive for the three days of the festival by sniffing it.He died immediately after the festival was over.

Antiphanes

 

c. 310 BC

Antiphanes was a renowned comic poet of the MiddleAttic comedy. TheSudaclaims he died after being struck by a pear.

Agathocles of Syracuse

 

289 BC

Agathocles, a GreektyrantofSyracuse, was murdered with a poisoned toothpick.

Philitas of Cos

 

c.270 BC

Philitas of Cos, a Greek intellectual, is said byAthenaeusto have studied arguments and erroneous word usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death.British classicistAlan Cameronspeculates that Philitas died from awastingdisease which his contemporaries joked was caused by hispedantry.

Qin Shi Huang

 

10 September 210 BC

Qin Shi Huang, the firstEmperor of China, whose artifacts and treasures include theTerracotta Army, died after ingesting several pills ofmercuryin the belief that it would grant himeternal life.

Chrysippusof Soli

 

c.206 BC

One ancient account of the death of Chrysippus, a third-century BCGreekStoicphilosopher, tells that hedied of laughterafter he saw adonkeyeating hisfigs; he told a slave to give the donkey neat wine to drink to wash them down with, and then, "...having laughed too much, he died" (Diogenes Laërtius 7.185).

Eleazar Avaran

 

c.163 BC

Eleazar Avaran was the brother ofJudas Maccabeus. According to1 Maccabees 6:32-33, in battle, he thrust his spear into the belly of a king'swar elephant, which collapsed and fell on top of Eleazar, killing him instantly.

Porcia Catonis

 

June 43 to October 42 BC

The daughter ofMarcus Porcius Cato Uticensisand second wife ofMarcus Junius Brutus, according to ancient historians such asCassius DioandAppiankilled herself by swallowing hot coals. Modern historians find this tale implausible.

Claudius Drusus

 

c. 20 AD

According toSuetonius, Claudius Drusus, the eldest son of the futureRoman EmperorClaudius, died while playing. Having tossed a pear high in the air, when it came back, he caught it in his mouth but he choked on it, dying ofasphyxia.

Tiberius

 

16 March 37 AD

The Roman emperor Tiberius died inMisenumat the age of seventy-eight. According toTacitus, the emperor appeared to have died andCaligula, who was at Tiberius' villa, was being congratulated on his succession to the empire, when news arrived that the emperor had revived and was recovering his faculties. Those who had moments before recognized Caligula asAugustusfled in fear of the emperor's wrath, whileMacro, aprefectof thePraetorian Guard, took advantage of the chaos to have Tiberius smothered with his own bedclothes, definitively killing him.

Simon the Zealot

 

1st century AD

According to an ancient tradition, Simon, anapostle of Jesus, wassawn in halfinPersia.

Saint Lawrence

 

258 AD

ThedeaconSaint Lawrence was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution ofValerianPrudentiustells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over—I'm done on this side".He is now thepatron saintof cooks, chefs and comedians.

Middle Ages

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Ragnar Lodbrok

 

c.865

Ragnar Lodbrok, a semi-legendary Viking leader whose exploits are narrated in theRagnars saga loðbrókar, a thirteenth-century Icelandic saga, is said to have been captured byÆlla of Northumbria, who had him executed by throwing him into a pit of snakes.

Louis III of France

 

5 August 882

Louis III, king ofWest Francia, died aged around 18 atSaint-Denis. Whilst mounting his horse to pursue a girl who was running to seek refuge in her father's house he hit his head on the lintel of a low door and fell,fracturing his skull.

Sigurd the MightyofOrkney

 

892

Sigurd the Mighty, the secondEarl of Orkney, strapped the head of his defeated foe,Máel Brigte, to his horse's saddle. Brigte's teeth rubbed against Sigurd's leg as he rode, causing a fatal infection, according to the Old NorseHeimskringlaandOrkneyingasagas.

Edmund Ironside

 

30 November 1016

Edmund Ironside was stabbed whilst on a toilet, by an assassin hiding underneath.

Béla I of Hungary

 

11 September 1063

Béla I of Hungary, when theHoly Roman Empiredecided to launch a military expedition against Hungary to restore youngSolomonto the throne, was seriously injured when "his throne broke beneath him" in his manor atDömös.  The King—who was "half-dead", according to theIlluminated Chronicle—was taken to the western borders of his kingdom, where he died at the creek Kanizsa on 11 September 1063.

Crown Prince Philip of France

 

13 October 1131

Crown Prince Philip of France died while riding through Paris, when his horse tripped over a black pig running out of a dung heap.

Al-Musta'sim

 

20 February 1258

Al-Musta'sim, the lastAbbasidCaliphofBaghdad, was executed by hisMongolcaptors by being rolled up in a rug and then trampled by horses.

Edward II of England

 

21 September 1327

Edward II of England was rumoured to have been murdered, after being deposed and imprisoned by hiswifeIsabellaand her loverRoger Mortimer, by having ahornpushed into his anus through which a red-hot iron was inserted, burning out his internal organs without marking his body.  However, there is no real academic consensus on the manner of Edward II's death and it has been plausibly argued that the story is propaganda.

John of Bohemia

 

26 August 1346

John of Bohemia, after being blind for 10 years, died in theBattle of Crecywhen his companions tied their horses' reins to his own and charged. He was slaughtered in the ensuing fight.

Charles II of Navarre

 

1 January 1387

Charles II of Navarre known as "Charles the Bad". The contemporary chroniclerFroissartrelates that the king, suffering from illness in old age, was ordered by his physician to be tightly sewn into a linen sheet soaked in distilled spirits. The highly flammable sheet accidentally caught fire and Charles later died of his injuries. Froissart considered the horrific death to be God's judgment upon the king.

Martin of Aragon

 

31 May 1410

Martin of Aragon died from a combination of indigestion anduncontrollable laughing. According to tradition, Martin was suffering from indigestion on account of eating an entire goose when his favoritejester, Borra, entered the king's bedroom. When Martin asked Borra where he had been, the jester replied with: "Out of the next vineyard, where I saw a young deer hanging by his tail from a tree, as if someone had so punished him for stealing figs." This joke caused the king to die from laughter.

Renaissance

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

George Plantagenet,Duke of Clarence

 

18 February 1478

George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, was allegedly executed by drowning in a barrel ofMalmsey wine, apparently his own choice once he accepted he was to be killed.

Victims of the1518 dancing plague

 

July 1518

In July 1518, several people died of eitherheart attacks,strokesorexhaustionduring adancing maniathat occurred inStrasbourg,Alsace(Holy Roman Empire).

Cosimo Gheri

 

24 September 1537

According to theFlorentinehistorianBenedetto Varchi, Cosimo Gheri, the 24-years-oldBishop of Fano(Papal States), died of pain due to theshockof having beenrapedbyPier Luigi Farnese, son ofPope Paul III(seeRape of Fano).  But the event is far from certain.

Pietro Aretino

 

21 October 1556

The influent Italian author andlibertinePietro Aretino is said to have died of suffocation fromlaughing too muchat an obscene joke during a meal inVenice. Another version states that he fell from a chair from too much laughter, fracturing his skull.

Hans Staininger

 

1567

Hans Staininger, theburgomasterofBraunau(thenBavaria, nowAustria), died when he broke his neck by tripping over his own beard.  The beard, which was 4.5 feet (1.4m) long at the time, was usually kept rolled up in a leather pouch.

Marco Antonio Bragadin

 

17 August 1571

Marco Antonio Bragadin,VenetianCaptain-General ofFamagustainCyprus, was gruesomely killed in August 1571 after theOttomanstook the city. He was dragged round the walls with sacks of earth and stone on his back; next, he was tied to a chair and hoisted to the yardarm of the Turkish flagship, where he was exposed to the taunts of the sailors. Finally, he was taken to his place of execution in the main square, tied naked to a column, andflayed alive.  Bragadin's skin was stuffed with straw and sewn, reinvested with his military insignia, and exhibited riding an ox in a mocking procession along the streets of Famagusta. The macabre trophy was hoisted upon the masthead pennant of the personal galley of the Ottoman commander, Amir al-bahr Mustafa Pasha, to be brought toConstantinopleas a gift forSultanSelim II. Bragadin's skin was stolen in 1580 by a Venetian seaman and brought back to Venice, where it was received as a returning hero.

Tycho Brahe

 

24 October 1601

Tycho Brahe contracted a bladder or kidney ailment after attending a banquet in Prague, and died eleven days later. According toKepler's first-hand account, Brahe had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette.  After he had returned home he was no longer able to urinate, except eventually in very small quantities and with excruciating pain.

Early modern period

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Thomas Urquhart

 

1660

Thomas Urquhart, aScottisharistocrat,polymathand first translator ofFrançois Rabelais's writings into English, is said to have died laughing upon hearing thatCharles IIhad taken the throne.

James Betts

 

1667

James Betts died fromasphyxiationafter being sealed in acupboardby Elizabeth Spencer, atCorpus Christi College, Cambridgein an attempt to hide him from her father,John Spencer.

François Vatel

 

24 April 1671

Vatel, themajordomoofPrince Louis II de Bourbon-Condè, was responsible for a banquet for 2,000 people hosted in honour ofKing Louis XIVat theChâteau de Chantilly, where he died. According to a letter byMadame de Sévigné, Vatel was so distraught about the lateness of the seafood delivery and about other mishaps that he committed suicide with his sword, and his body was discovered when someone came to tell him of the arrival of the fish.

Molière

 

17 February 1673[89]

The French playwright Molière suffered apulmonary hemorrhagecaused bytuberculosiswhile playing the character Argan, a severehypochondriac, in his own playLe malade imaginaire(The Imaginary Invalid).  He disguised his convulsion as part of his performance and finished out the show, which included a scene in which the character he was playing faked his own death to find out how his wife really felt about him.  After the show, Molière's actual wife, who played the daughter of his character, realized that he really was ill and carried him across the street to their house in the same chair he had pretended to die in as part of the performance.  He began coughing up blood and she sent for a priest to hear him renounce his acting career so he could be buried on sacred ground, but Molière died before a sympathetic priest could be found.

Bhai Mati Das

Bhai Sati Das

Bhai Dayala

 

1675

Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayala are revered as earlySikhmartyrs. By order of theMughal emperorAurangzeb, Bhai Mati Das was executed by being bound between two pillars andsawn in half, while his younger brother Bhai Sati Das wrapped in cotton wool soaked in oil and set on fire and Bha Dayala wasboiled in a cauldronfull of water and roasted over a block of charcoal.  All three were particularly calm during the torture.

Jean-Baptiste Lully

 

22 March 1687

Jean-Baptiste Lully, the French composer, died of agangrenousabscessafter accidentally piercing his foot with a staff while he was vigorously conducting aTe Deum. It was customary at that time to conduct by banging a staff on the floor.  He refused to have his leg amputated so he could still dance.

Stanisław Leszczyński

 

23 February 1766

The former King Stanisław I of Poland, father-in-law ofLouis XV of France, died in 1766, at the rare age of 88, as a result of serious burns: his silk attire caught fire from a spark while the King was snoozing near the fireplace in hispalace in Lunévilleon 5 February. Leszczyński was badly burned when the servants rescued him after a while, but he breathed his last after many days of agony.

Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden

 

12 February 1771

Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden, died of digestion problems on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring, and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert:semlaserved in a bowl of hot milk, called "hetvägg".  He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as "the king who ate himself to death."

Frantisek Kotzwara

 

2 September 1791

While he was in London, Kotzwara visited a prostitute named Susannah Hill in Vine Street, Westminster. After dinner with her in her lodgings, Kotzwara paid her two shillings and requested that she cut off his testicles. Hill refused to do so. Kotzwara then tied a ligature around the doorknob, the other end fastened around his neck, and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with Hill. After it was over, Kotzwara was dead.

19th century

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

William Snyder

 

11 January 1854

William Snyder, a 13-year-old, died inSan Francisco, California, when a circus clown swung him around by his heels.

Mathilda of Austria

 

6 June 1867

Archduchess Mathilda of Austria, daughter ofArchduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen, died at the age of 18 inSchloss Hetzendorf. She had put on agauzedress to go to the theatre. Before leaving for the theatre, she wanted to smoke a cigarette but shortly thereafter her father, who had forbidden smoking, approached her, and she hid the cigarette behind her dress, immediately setting light to its very flammable material and giving her second and third-degreeburns.

Clement Vallandigham

 

17 June 1871

Clement Vallandigham, a lawyer andOhiopolitician defending a man accused of murder, accidentally shot himself and died while demonstrating how the victim might have accidentally shot himself. His client was cleared.

Henry Taylor

 

November 1872

Henry Taylor, a pall bearer atKensal Green Cemeteryin London, tripped over a stone and stumbled as he was carrying a coffin.  The other pall bearers let go of the coffin and it fell on top of Taylor, crushing him to death in front of all the mourners.  The widow of the man in the coffin reportedly "nearly went into hysterics".

Sir William Payne-Gallwey, 2nd Baronet

 

19 December 1881

Sir William Payne-Gallwey, a former BritishMP, sustained "severe internal injuries" when he fell over and landed on aturnipwhile out hunting. He died a few days later.

Allan Pinkerton

 

1 July 1884

Allan Pinkerton, the founder of thePinkerton Detective Agency, was inChicago,Illinoiswhen he tripped on the pavement and severely bit on his tongue.  His tongue became infected withgangrene, ultimately leading to his death.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria

 

10 September 1898

During a trip inGeneva, Empress Elisabeth of Austria was stabbed to death, with a thin file, by the Italian anarchistLuigi Lucheni. The weapon pierced the victim'spericardium, and alung. Because of the sharpness and thinness of the file the wound was very narrow and, due to pressure from Elisabeth's extremely tight corseting, which was usually sewn onto her, she did not notice what had happened (in fact she believed a simple passerby had hit her) and continued to walk for a while before collapsing.

20th century

1901 – 1960

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Topsy the elephant

 

4 January 1903

Topsy was executed by poisoning, electrocution, and strangulation. A74-second filmof the electrocution was recorded and preserved. It may have been the first time death was ever captured in a motion picture film.

Unknown

 

Early 1903

An unnamed person was beaten to death with aBibleduring a healing ceremony gone wrong inHonolulu. The victim was being treated formalariawhen his family summoned aKahunawho decided he was possessed by devils and tried to exorcise the demons; the Kahuna was brought up on a charge of manslaughter.

Mary the elephant

 

13 September 1916

The day afterMary, a five-ton cow elephant, killed a trainer for theSparks World Famous Showscircus inSullivan County, Tennessee, she washangedby the neck from a railcar-mounted industrial crane.

Grigori Rasputin

 

30 December

[O.S.17 December] 1916

According to the Russian mystic's murderer himself, PrinceFelix Yusupov, Rasputin consumed tea, cakes, and wine which had been laced withcyanidebut he did not appear to be affected by the poison. He was then shot once in the chest and believed to be dead but, after a while, he leapt up and attacked Yusupov, who freed himself and fled. Rasputin followed and made it into the courtyard before being shot again and collapsing into a snowbank. The conspirators then wrapped Rasputin's body and dropped it into theMalaya Nevka River.

Twenty-one people

 

15 January 1919

A large storage tank burst inBoston's North End, releasing a wave of molasses which killed 21 people and injured 150. This event was later dubbed theGreat Molasses Flood.

George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon

 

5 April 1923

George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who financedHoward Carter's search forTutankhamun, died after a mosquito bite, which he had cut while shaving, became infected. Some attributed his death to the so-calledcurse of the pharaohs.

Bobby Leach

 

1926

Bobby Leach, an American stunt performer, died after a botched amputation of the infected leg which he had broken after slipping on an orange peel.

Phillip McClean

 

1926

Phillip McClean, aged 16, and his brother were clubbing acassowaryon the family property inMossman, Queensland, when the bird knocked him down, kicked him in the neck, and opened a large cut, leading to death from loss of blood.

Isadora Duncan

 

14 September 1927

Isadora Duncan, a dancer, broke her neck when her long scarf caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.

Sherwood Anderson

 

8 March 1941

Sherwood Anderson, an American writer, died after an accidentally swallowed toothpick had damaged his gastrointestinal tract, causing an infection which led toperitonitis.

Gareth Jones

 

1958

Gareth Jones, an actor, died of a heart attack between scenes of a live television play,Underground. Other members of the cast improvised lines, such as "I'm sure if So‑and‑so were here he would say..." to compensate for Jones's absence. Coincidentally, Jones's character was supposed to die of a heart attack in a later scene of the play.

1960s

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

John A. Byrnes, Richard Leroy McKinley, and Richard C. Legg

 

1961

U.S. Armyspecialists John A. Byrnes and Richard Leroy McKinley andNavyelectrician's mate Richard C. Legg were killed by awater hammerexplosion during maintenance on theSL-1nuclear reactor in Idaho.

Nick Piantanida

 

1966

Nick Piantanida, a skydiver, died four months after an attempt to break the record for the highest parachute jump; his suit had depressurized causing brain damage.

1970s

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Georgy Dobrovolsky,Vladislav Volkov, andViktor Patsayev

 

1971

Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev, Soviet cosmonauts, died when theirSoyuz-11spacecraft depressurized during preparations for re-entry. These are the only known human deaths outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Basil Brown

 

1974

Basil Brown, a 48-year-old health food advocate fromCroydon, England, died from liver damage after he consumed 70 millionunitsof Vitamin A and around 10 US gallons (38 litres) ofcarrot juiceover ten days, turning his skin bright yellow.

Alex Mitchell

 

1975

After watching the "Kung Fu Kapers" episode ofThe Goodies, Alex Mitchell laughed continuously for 25 minutes and then fell dead on his sofa from heart failure.

Tina Christopherson

 

1977

Tina Christopherson died when she fanaticallydrank 4 US gallons (15 litres) of water a dayto combat stomach cancer.

Tom Pryceand Frederick Jansen van Vuuren

 

1977

Tom Pryce, a driver in the1977 South African Grand Prix, was killed alongside fire marshal Frederick Jansen Van Vuuren after being struck on the head by afire extinguisherwhen his car, travelling at 170 miles per hour (270km/h), hit Jansen Van Vuuren as he was running across theKyalamirace track to extinguish a burning car.

Kurt Gödel

 

1978

Kurt Gödel, an Austrian-American logician and mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel refused to eat food prepared by anyone else.

Robert Williams

 

1979

Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, became the first person known to be killed by a robot when the arm of a factory robot struck him in the head.

John Bowen

 

1979

John Bowen, a 20-year-old fromNashua, New Hampshire, was killed at a half-time show atShea Stadiumwhen a 40-pound (18kg) model plane shaped like a lawnmower crashed into the stands.

1980s

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Boris Sagal

 

1981

Boris Sagal, a Ukrainian-American film director, died while shooting the TV miniseriesWorld War IIIinPortland, Oregon, when he walked into thetail rotorblade of a helicopter and was partiallydecapitated.

David Grundman

 

1982

David Grundman,shooting at cactiwith his shotgun nearLake Pleasant, Arizona, was crushed when a 4-foot (1.2m) limb of the cactus detached and fell on him.

Tennessee Williams

 

1983

Tennessee Williams, an American playwright, died after accidentally choking on a plastic bottle cap which he was using to ingestbarbiturates.  Reports at the time of his death indicated he had died applyingeye dropswhile holding the cap between his teeth, but this was corrected in the official medical examiner's report six months later.

Truls Hellevik

 

1983

Truls Hellevik, a Norwegian diver,was explosively dismemberedwhen accidentally exposed to an eight-atmospherechange inair pressurewhich instantaneously forced his body through a 60-centimetre-diameter (24in) opening.

Dick Wertheim

 

1983

Dick Wertheim, atennislinesman, died after a ball struck him in the groin and he fell out of his chair.

Jimmy Ferrozzo

 

1983

Jimmy Ferrozzo, a bouncer at theCondor Clubin San Francisco, died while engaging in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend Theresa Hill on agrand pianothat was lowered from the ceiling by a hydraulic motor. Ferrozzo accidentally activated the lifting mechanism which pinned him against the ceiling leading to his suffocation.  Hill survived the accident.

Paul G. Thomas

 

1983

Paul G. Thomas, owner of awool millinThompson, Connecticut, died of suffocation after falling into a machine in the wool mill and becoming wrapped in 800 yards (730m) of wool.

Unknown

 

1984

An unidentified 25-year-old man was using submersion as anerotic asphyxiamethod. With a home-made plastic body suit, he tied himself to a boat and was using a home-made diving apparatus for air supply. He died from rebreathing, caused by the faulty air supply device.

Cachy the Poodle, Marta Espina, Edith Solá, unidentified man

 

1988

Apoodlenamed Cachy, inCaballito, Buenos Aires, fell from 13 floors and fatally hit 75-year-old Marta Espina, dying instantly. In the course of the events, 46-year-old Edith Sola, who came to see the incident, was fatally hit by a bus. An unidentified man, who witnessed Edith's death, had an heart attack and also died, on his way to the hospital.

1990s

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Carl Beauford Terry and Linda Varnar Keath

 

1991

A male flight instructor and a female student, Carl Beauford Terry and Linda Varnar Keath, were killed when thePiper PA-34 Senecaairplane they were flying crashed, believed to have been caused by the two people having sex in the cockpit of the plane.  Movements in the cockpit led to thestickbeing pushed down and the airplane exceeding its speed limitations and breaking off the right wing.

Brandon Lee

 

1993

Brandon Lee, 28-year-old film actor, martial artist, and son ofBruce Lee, was accidentally shot to death by co-starMichael Masseewhile filming a scene forThe Crow, as the result of animproperly-loadedprop gun.

Garry Hoy

 

1993

Garry Hoy, a lawyer inTorontofell to his death from the 24th floor of theToronto-Dominion Centrewhile demonstrating to a group of visitors that the building's windows were "unbreakable". Hoy threw himself against the window, which did not break but popped out of its frame.

Gloria Ramirez

 

1994

Gloria Ramirez, 31, died fromkidney failurerelated to hercervical cancer. While treating her, several of the hospital staff became ill, suffering from loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and muscle spasms. Shortly before dying, Ramirez was allegedly covered with an oily sheen, which smelled of fruit and garlic. When drawing her blood with a syringe, nurses noticed it had a smell similar toammoniaand there were unusual particles floating in it.

Jeremy Brenno

 

1994

Jeremy Brenno, 16, was killed on a golf course when, frustrated, he struck a bench with a 3-wood golf club. The shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart.

Karen Wetterhahn

 

1997

Karen Wetterhahn, a professor of chemistry atDartmouth College, died ten months after a few drops ofdimethylmercury(anorganomercury compoundand one of the strongest knownneurotoxins) landed on her protective gloves. Although Wetterhahn had been following the required procedures, the material permeated the gloves and her skin within seconds.

Jonathan Capewell

 

1998

Jonathan Capewell, 16, died from a heart attack brought on by the buildup ofbutaneandpropanein the blood after excessive use ofdeodorantsprays.  Capewell was reported to have an obsession with personal hygiene.  An autopsy showed that Capewell had 0.37mg of butane per litre in his blood, and the same amount of propane, whereas 0.1mg per litre can be fatal.

Betty Stobbs

 

1999

Betty Stobbs, 67, died after delivering a bale of hay to hersheep. The starving sheep rushed Stobbs, who was on hermotorcycle. In the ensuing scuffle, Stobbs was knocked down into a deepravinenearDurham, England, and died when her motorcycle landed on her.

21st century

2000s

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Bernd Brandes

 

9 March 2001

Bernd Brandes, a Germanengineerfrom Berlin, was willingly slaughtered so that he could be butchered and eaten bycannibalArmin Meiwes. Brandes had responded to an internet advertisement which Meiwes had placed for this purpose. In prison, Meiwes became a vegetarian.

David Phyall

 

5 July 2001

David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished inBishopstoke, nearSouthampton,Hampshire, England, decapitated himself with achainsawto highlight the injustice of being forced to move out.

Brian Douglas Wells

 

2003

Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man fromErie, Pennsylvania, was killed by an explosive collar around his neck, as part of a bank-robbery scheme.

Hitoshi Nikaidoh

 

2003

Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a doctor inHouston,Texas, was decapitated after his head was trapped in the doors of an elevator at his workplace

Phillip Quinn

 

2004

Phillip Quinn, 24, fromKent, Washington, was killed when alava lamphe was heating on a stove exploded, with a shard piercing his heart.

Kenneth Pinyan

 

2005

Kenneth Pinyan died from injuries caused byanal sexwith astallion.

Mildred Bowman and Alice Wardle

 

2005

Mildred Bowman, 62, and Alice Wardle, 68, were two sisters killed inBenidorm, Spain after becoming trapped for four days when their fold-up bed collapsed.

Humberto Hernandez

 

2007

Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-oldOakland, California resident, was killed after being struck in the face by an airbornefire hydrantwhile walking. A passing car had struck the fire hydrant and the water pressure shot the hydrant at Hernandez with enough force to kill him.

Judy Kay Zagorski

 

2008

Judy Kay Zagorski was killed when a 75-pound (34kg)spotted eagle rayleapt out of the water and knocked her over. The ray also died.

Unknown

 

2008

A 43-year-old Irish mother of four died of an allergic reaction after having sex with aGerman Shepherddog.

Taylor Mitchell

 

28 October 2009

Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-oldCanadianfolk singer, was killed by a pair of coyotes while hiking inCape Breton Highlands National Park, in the only known fatal coyote attack on an adult.

Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada

 

2009

Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, a 25-year-old supermarket employee, is believed to have fallen into the 18-inch gap between a cooler and a wall and became trapped. His body was not discovered for almost ten years when the cooler was moved.

2010s

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Mike Edwards

 

3 September 2010

Mike Edwards, 62, cellist and a founding member of the bandElectric Light Orchestra, died when a large round bale of hay rolled down a hill and collided with the van he was driving.

Jimi Heselden

 

26 September 2010

Jimi Heselden, 62, owner ofSegway Inc., died after apparently riding a Segway Personal Transport System, his own product, off a cliff.

Jose Luis Ochoa

 

2011

Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, died after being stabbed in the leg at an illegalcockfightinTulare County, California, by a bird with a knife-like spur strapped to its leg.

Edward Archbold

 

2012

Edward Archbold, 32, ofWest Palm Beach, Florida, choked on "arthropod body parts" during a cockroach-eating contest.

Erica Marshall

 

2012

Erica Marshall, a 28-year-old Britishveterinarianin Ocala, Florida, died when the horse she was treating in ahyperbaric oxygenchamber kicked the wall, released a spark from itshorseshoesand triggered an explosion.

Elisa Lam

 

February 2013

Elisa Lam, fromVancouver, British Columbia, was missing for several weeks before being found dead in a large water tank on the roof of theCecil HotelinLos Angeles, after guests complained about the taste of the water.

Takuya Nagaya

 

2013

Takuya Nagaya, 23, from Japan, started to slither on the floor and claimed he had become a snake. Takuya died after his father spent the next two days head-butting and biting him "to drive [out] the snake that had possessed him."

Roger Mirro

 

2013

Roger Mirro was crushed by atrash compactorwhile looking through a dumpster for hisphone.

Unknown

 

2013

An unnamed Belarusian fisherman, 60, bled to death after being bitten by abeaverwhich he had tried to grab in order to have his picture taken with it.

João Maria de Souza

 

2013

João Maria de Souza, 45, was crushed in his bed by a cow falling through the roof of his home inCaratinga, Brazil. The cow had climbed on top of the house from a steep hillside behind it. Both the cow and de Souza's wife (who had been in bed next to him) were unharmed.

Denver Lee St. Clair

 

2013

Denver Lee St. Clair was asphyxiated by an "atomicwedgie" administered by his stepson during a fight. After St. Clair had been knocked unconscious, the elastic band from his torn underwear was pulled over his head and stretched around his neck, strangling him.

Kendrick Johnson

 

10 January 2013

Kendrick Johnson, 17, was discovered trapped upside down in a rolled-up gym mat in his high school gymnasium. Police originally concluded he had climbed in to retrieve a shoe and became trapped, but the case was later reopened as a possible homicide.

Miguel Martinez

 

2013

Miguel Martinez, 14, fromLubbock,Texas, was impaled through the chest by the horn of a bull statue while playing hide-and-seek at night in front of theNational Ranching Heritage Center.

Noah Barthe, Connor Barthe

 

2013

The two young brothers, aged 4 and 6, werekilled by an African rock pythonduring a sleepover inNew Brunswick, Canada. The large snake had escaped a pet store and slithered up through ducts into the apartment where they slept. Though it suffocated the children it did not attempt to eat them.

Hayato Tsuruta

 

2013

Hayato Tsuruta, 28, from Japan, withintellectual disabilities, ran away from his residential facility and went to a supermarket. There he consumed so many doughnuts displayed that he choked to death.

Heval Yıldırım

 

2014

Heval Yıldırım, 13, of Turkey was killed when asacrificial goatbought forEid al-Adhajumped off the roof over a protective fence and fell onto him. Yıldırım's father placed the goat on the roof of the building where he lived because he could not find another suitable place to keep it.

Christophe de Margerie

 

20 October 2014

Christophe de Margerie, an oil executive, was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snowplow reportedly driven by a drunk driver.

Peng Fan

 

2014

Peng Fan, a chef inFoshan, China, was bitten by acobra's severed head, which he had cut off 20 minutes earlier while preparing a soup.

Peter Biaksangzula

 

2014

Peter Biaksangzuala, an Indianassociation footballplayer, died after sustaining spinal cord injuries while awkwardly landing a somersault celebrating a goal.

Chelsea Ake-Salvacion

 

2015

Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, 24, an employee of aHenderson, Nevadasalon, was suffocated while using acryotherapymachine set to the wrong level, which eliminated the oxygen in the chamber.

Ravi Subramanian

 

2015

Ravi Subramanian, anAir Indiatechnician, was sucked into an aircraft's jet engines.

Stephen Whinfrey

 

2015

Stephen Whinfrey, 50, became trapped and asphyxiated whenrabbitingnearDoncaster, England, after his head became stuck down a rabbit hole.

V. Kamaraj

 

2016

V. Kamaraj, a 40-year-old Indian bus driver, was claimed by local

the silver scream

 

Wikipedia,

Antiquity

Note: Many of these stories are likely to be apocryphal.

Name of person

 

Date of death

Details

Dracoof Athens

 

c.620 BC

Draco, an Athenian lawmaker, was reportedly smothered to death by gifts of cloaks and hats showered upon him by appreciative citizens at a theatre onAegina.

Charondas

 

Late 7th to early 5th century BC

Charondas was a Greek lawgiver fromSicily.According toDiodorus Siculus, he issued a law that anyone who brought weapons into theAssemblymust be put to death.One day, he arrived at the Assembly after hunting in the countryside with a knife still attached to his belt.In order to uphold his own law, he committed suicide.

ArrhichionofPhigalia

 

564 BC

Arrichion of Phigalia, a Greekpankratiast, caused his own death during theOlympicfinals. Held by his unidentified opponent in a stranglehold and unable to free himself, Arrichion kicked his opponent, causing him so much pain that the opponent made the sign of defeat to the umpires, but at the same time breaking Arrichion's neck. Since the opponent had conceded defeat, Arrichion was proclaimed the victor posthumously.

Sisamnes

 

c. 525 BC

According toHerodotus, Sisamnes was a corrupt judge underCambyses II of Persia. He accepted a bribe and delivered an unjust verdict. As a result, the king had him arrested andflayed alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat in which his son would sit in judgment.

PythagorasofSamos

 

c.495 BC

Ancient sources disagree on how the Greek philosopherPythagorasdied, but one late and probably apocryphal legend reported by bothDiogenes Laërtius, a third-century AD biographer of famous philosophers, andIamblichus, aNeoplatonistphilosopher, states that Pythagoras was murdered by his political enemies.Supposedly, he almost managed to outrun them,but he came to a bean field and refused to run through it because he had prohibited beans as ritually unclean.Since cutting through the field would violate his own teachings, Pythagoras simply stopped running and was killed as a result. This story may have been fabricated byNeanthes of Cyzicus, whom both Diogenes and Iamblichus rely on as a source.

HeraclitusofEphesus

 

c.475 BC

According to one account given by Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was said to have been devoured by dogs after smearing himself with cow manure in an attempt to cure hisdropsy.

Themistocles

 

c.459 BC

Themistocles, the Athenian general who won theBattle of Salamis, actually died of natural causes in exile,but was widely rumored to have committed suicide by drinking bull's blood.Since bull's blood is not actually poisonous,Themistocles cannot have actually died in this way,but the legend is widely retold in classical sources.The early twentieth-century English classicistPercy Gardnerproposed that the story about him drinking bull's blood may have been based on an ignorant misunderstanding of a statue showing Themistocles in a heroic pose, holding a cup as an offering to the gods.The comedic playwrightAristophanesreferences Themistocles drinking bull's blood in his comedyThe Knights(performed in 324 BC) as the most heroic way for a man to die.

Aeschylus

 

c.455 BC

According toValerius Maximus,Aeschylus, the eldest of the three great Atheniantragedians, was killed by atortoisedropped by an eagle that had mistaken his bald head for a rock suitable for shattering the shell of the reptile.Pliny, in hisNaturalis Historiæ, adds that Aeschylus had been staying outdoors to avert a prophecy that he would be killed by a falling object.

EmpedoclesofAkragas

 

c.430 BC

Empedocles of Acragas was aPre-Socratic philosopherfrom the island ofSicily, who, in one of his surviving poems, declares himself to have become a "divine being... no longer mortal".[According to Diogenes Laërtius, he tried to prove he was an immortal god by leaping intoMount Etna, an active volcano.This legend is also alluded to by the Roman poetHorace.

Sophocles

 

c.406 BC

A number of "remarkable" legends concerning the death of Sophocles, another of the three great Athenian tragedians, are recorded in the late antiqueLife of Sophocles.According to one legend, he choked to death on an unripe grape.Another says that he died of joy after hearing that his last play had been victorious.A third account reports that he died of suffocation after reading aloud a lengthy monologue from the end of his playAntigonewithout pausing to take a breath for commas or punctuation.

Mithridates

 

401 BC

Mithridates, a Persian soldier who embarrassed his king,Artaxerxes II, by boasting of killing his rival,Cyrus the Younger(who was the brother of Artaxerxes II), was executed byscaphism. The king's physician,Ctesias, reported that Mithridates survived the insect torture for 17 days.

DemocritusofAbdera

 

c.370 BC

According to Diogenes Laërtius, the GreekAtomistphilosopher Democritus of Abdera died at the age of 109;as he was on his deathbed, his sister was greatly worried because she needed to fulfill her religious obligations to the goddessArtemisin the approaching three-dayThesmophoriafestival. Democritus told her to place a loaf of warm bread under his noseand was able to survive for the three days of the festival by sniffing it.He died immediately after the festival was over.

Antiphanes

 

c. 310 BC

Antiphanes was a renowned comic poet of the MiddleAttic comedy. TheSudaclaims he died after being struck by a pear.

Agathocles of Syracuse

 

289 BC

Agathocles, a GreektyrantofSyracuse, was murdered with a poisoned toothpick.

Philitas of Cos

 

c.270 BC

Philitas of Cos, a Greek intellectual, is said byAthenaeusto have studied arguments and erroneous word usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death.British classicistAlan Cameronspeculates that Philitas died from awastingdisease which his contemporaries joked was caused by hispedantry.

Qin Shi Huang

 

10 September 210 BC

Qin Shi Huang, the firstEmperor of China, whose artifacts and treasures include theTerracotta Army, died after ingesting several pills ofmercuryin the belief that it would grant himeternal life.

Chrysippusof Soli

 

c.206 BC

One ancient account of the death of Chrysippus, a third-century BCGreekStoicphilosopher, tells that hedied of laughterafter he saw adonkeyeating hisfigs; he told a slave to give the donkey neat wine to drink to wash them down with, and then, "...having laughed too much, he died" (Diogenes Laërtius 7.185).

Eleazar Avaran

 

c.163 BC

Eleazar Avaran was the brother ofJudas Maccabeus. According to1 Maccabees 6:32-33, in battle, he thrust his spear into the belly of a king'swar elephant, which collapsed and fell on top of Eleazar, killing him instantly.