List of last words

Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of rivals. In his last words, Caesar allegedly exclaimed over the fact that his friend and relative Brutus took part in his murder.

Last words or final words are a person's final articulated words, stated prior to death or as death approaches. Last words may not necessarily be written down or accurately recorded, and they may not be quoted accurately for a variety of reasons.

Last words by famous people

In rising chronological order, with death date specified. If relevant, also the context of the words or the circumstances of death are specified. If there is controversy or uncertainty concerning a person's last words, this is described in footnotes.

Pre-5th century

Samson destroying the Philistine temple.
"Let me die with the Philistines."
("תמות נפשי עם־פלשתים")
Samson, judge of the Israelites (c. 1078 BC), prior to bringing down pillars of Philistine temple and killing 3000 people along with himself
"Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me."
("שְׁלֹף חַרְבְּךָ וְדָקְרֵנִי בָהּ פֶּן יָבוֹאוּ הָעֲרֵלִים הָאֵלֶּה וּדְקָרֻנִי וְהִתְעַלְּלוּ בִי")
Shaul, king of Israel (c. 1012 BC), to his servant during the Battle of Mount Gilboa
"All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness."
("व्अय्अध्अम्म्आ स्अङख्आर्आ अप्प्अम्आद्एन्अ स्अम्प्आद्एथ्आ")
Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha, Indian sage who founded Buddhism (c. 483 BC)
"Heaven has turned against me. No wise ruler arises, and no one in the Empire wishes to make me his teacher. The hour of my death has come."
Confucius, Chinese philosopher who founded Confucianism (479 BC)
"For, no Athenian, through my means, ever wore mourning."
Pericles, Greek statesman (429 BC), discussing with his friends what his greatest accomplishment had been
"To the strongest."
("τῷ κρατίστῳ")
Alexander the Great, conqueror and king of Macedonia (c. 11 June 323 BC), when asked to whom his vast empire should belong after his death
Archimedes was summarily executed by a soldier after refusing to turn away from his math problem.
"Don't disturb my circles!"
("Μη μου τους κύκλους τάραττε!")
Archimedes, Greek mathematician (c. 212 BC), to a Roman soldier who interrupted his geometric experiments during the capture of Syracuse, whereupon the soldier killed him
"Let us ease the Roman people of their continual care, who think it long to await the death of an old man."
("Liberemus diuturna cura populum Romanum, quando mortem senis exspectare longum censent.")
Hannibal, Carthaginian general (c. 182 BC)
"You too, my child?"
("καὶ σὺ, τέκνον;")
Julius Caesar, Roman dictator (15 March 44 BC), discovering that his stepson Brutus was among his murderers.
"There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly."
("Nihil propriis quid facis, latro, autem non tentant recte ut interficias me.")
Cicero, Roman statesman (7 December 43 BC), facing an assassin sent by a rival
Cleopatra is believed to have committed suicide by letting a poisonous snake bite her.
"So here it is!"
("Τόσο εδώ!")
Cleopatra, pharaoh of Egypt (12 August 30 BC), right before she reportedly committed suicide by letting an asp bite her
"The drama's over. Applaud."
("Fabula acta est. Plaudite.")
Augustus Caesar, Roman emperor (19 August 14 AD)

"It is finished."
("Ha m'shalam.")
Jesus, Founder of Christianity (c. 30 AD), right before His death by crucifixion
"Late! That's fidelity!"
("Sero... Haec est fides")
Nero, Roman emperor (9 June 68 AD), to a soldier trying to save him after his suicide
"Wow, I think I'm turning into a god... An emperor should die on his feet."
("Vae, puto, deus fio... imperatorem stantem oportet mori.")
Vespasian, Roman emperor (24 June 79 AD), ironically alluding to the Roman practice of posthumously deifying former emperors, before he collapsed and died when attempting to stand up
"I am making my last effort to return that which is divine in me to that which is divine in the Universe."
Plotinus, Hellenistic philosopher (270 AD)

5th to 15th centuries

"Oh God, the Friend Most High!"
("اللَّهُمَّ الرَّفِيقَ الأَعْلَى")
Muhammad, Arabian preacher and statesman who founded Islam (8 June 632)
"Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."
Charlemagne, European monarch (28 January 814), quoting Jesus
"I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile."
("Dilexi iustitiam et odivi iniquitatem propterea morior in exilio.")
Pope Gregory VII (25 May 1085)
"I don't know."
Peter Abelard, French philosopher and theologian (21 April 1142)
"For the name of Jesus and the protection of the church I am ready to embrace death."
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (29 December 1170), to his murderers
"Let not my end disarm you, and on no account weep or keen for me, lest the enemy be warned of my death."
("Миний төгсгөлийг чамаас гуйхгүй, ямар ч шалтгаангүйгээр битгий уйлж, дуулгавартай байгаарай, дайсан минь миний үхлээс сэрэмжлүүлцгээе.")
Genghis Khan, warlord and khan of Mongolia (18 August 1227)
"Don't cut my face."
("Ikke hugg meg i ansiktet")
Skule Bårdsson, Norwegian nobleman (24 May 1240)
"I have not told half of what I saw."
("Non ho detto metà di quello che ho visto.")
Marco Polo, Venetian traveller in Asia (c. January 9, 1324)
"Now, God be with you, my dear children. I have breakfasted with you and shall sup with my Lord Jesus Christ."
Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland (7 June 1329)
"Make my skin into drumheads for the Bohemian cause."
Jan Žižka, Czech general (11 October 1424)

16th century

"Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."
("In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.")
Christopher Columbus, Italian explorer (20 May 1506), quoting Jesus
"I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have."
("Ho offeso Dio e l'umanità perché il mio lavoro non ha raggiunto la qualità che dovrebbe avere.")
Leonardo da Vinci, Italian artist and scientist (2 May 1519)
"Happy."
Raphael, Italian artist (6 April 1520)
"I am curious to see what happens in the next world to one who dies unshriven."
Pietro Perugino, Italian artist (1523)
"Mine eyes desire thee only. Farewell."
("Oculi mei te solum desiderant. Vale.")
Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England (7 January 1536), closing her last letter to her former husband, Henry VIII of England
"We are beggars, this is true."
("Wir sind Bettler, Hoc est Verum.")
Martin Luther, German theologian who started the Protestant Reformation (18 February 1546)
"Bring down the curtain, the farce is played out."
François Rabelais, French writer and physician (1553)
"Now I'm oiled. Keep me from the rats."
Pietro Aretino, Italian writer and blackmailer (21 October 1556), after receiving the last rites
"I'm still learning."
("Ancora imparo.")
Michelangelo, Italian artist and poet (18 February 1564)
"Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here."
("Vous ne me trouverez pas vivant au lever du soleil.")
Nostradamus, French seer (2 July 1566), correctly predicting his death

17th century

"May I not seem to have lived in vain."
("Ne frustra vixisse videar.")
Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer (24 October 1601), to Johannes Kepler
"All my possessions for a moment of time."
Elizabeth I, queen regnant of England (24 March 1603)
"All right then, I'll say it. Dante makes me sick."
Lope de Vega, Spanish playwright (27 August 1635)
"I, feeble and of small virtue, have offended against Heaven; the rebels have seized my capital because my ministers deceived me. Ashamed to face my ancestors, I die. Removing my imperial cap and with my hair disheveled about my face, I leave to the rebels the dismemberment of my body. Let them not harm my people!"
("朕自登基十七年,虽朕薄德匪躬,上干天怒,然皆诸臣误朕,致逆贼直逼京师。朕死,无面目见祖宗于地下,自去冠冕,以发覆面。任贼分裂朕尸,勿伤百姓一人。")
Chongzhen Emperor, the last emperor of Ming Dynasty (24 April 1644)
"I bless the Lord that he gave me counsel."[unreliable source?]
Samuel Rutherford, Scottish pastor (29 March 1661)
"I shall have to ask leave to desist, when I am interrupted by so great an experiment as dying."
William Davenant, English poet and playwright (7 April 1668), setting aside the manuscript of a new poem
"A great leap in the dark."
Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher (4 December 1679)
"Take me, for I come to Thee."
John Bunyan, English writer and preacher (31 August 1688)

18th century

"I am about to--or I am going to--die; either expression is correct."
("Je vais ou je vas mourir, l'un et l'autre se dit ou se disent.")
Dominique Bouhours, French priest and grammarian (27 May 1702)
"I am leaving, but the State shall always remain."
("Je m'en vais, mais l'État demeurera toujours.")
Louis XIV, king of France (1 September 1715)
Charles XII of Sweden, his body here pictured on its journey to Stockholm, was shot dead while inspecting his army's trenches.
"Don't be afraid."
("Var intet rädd.")
Charles XII, king of Sweden (11 December [O.S. 30 November] 1718), assuring his troops about his own safety minutes before being killed in battle
"See in what peace a Christian can die."
Joseph Addison, English writer and politician (17 June 1719), to his stepson, Edward Rich, 7th Earl of Warwick
"I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
Isaac Newton, English physicist (31 March [O.S. 20 March] 1727)
"Is this dying? Is this all? Is this what I feared when I prayed against a hard death? Oh, I can bear this! I can bear this!"
Cotton Mather, New England Puritan minister and author (13 February 1728)
"No, not quite naked. I shall have my uniform on."
Frederick William I of Prussia, King in Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg (31 May 1740), in response to priest or family members quoting Job 1:21
"Oh Lord! Forgive the errata!"
Andrew Bradford, American newspaper printer and publisher (24 November 1742)
"Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton; tell him to march Webb's regiment down to Charles River, to cut off their retreat from the bridge. Now, God be praised, I will die in peace!"
James Wolfe, British Army general (13 September 1759), mortally wounded at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, on learning that the French forces were fleeing
"It has all been most interesting."
Mary Wortley Montagu, English traveler (21 August 1762)
"Wait a second."
Madame de Pompadour, chief mistress of Louis XV of France (15 April 1764), applying rouge to her cheeks before her death
"Give Dayrolles a chair."
Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, British statesman and diplomat (24 March 1773), asking a servant to seat his godson, Solomon Dayrolles
"I am very ill. Send for Zimmermann. In fact, I think I'll die today."
Ludwig Christoph Heinrich Hölty, German poet (1 September 1776)
"My friend, the artery ceases to beat."
Albrecht von Haller, Swiss anatomist and physiologist (12 December 1777)
"Now is not the time for making new enemies."
Voltaire, French writer (30 May 1778), when asked by a priest to renounce Satan before his death
Death of James Cook in battle with Hawaiians.
"Take me to the boats."
James Cook, British explorer and Royal Navy captain (14 February 1779), after being mortally wounded by a native Hawaiian
"No, but comfortable enough to die."
Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Croatia (29 November 1780), when her son said, "Your Majesty cannot be comfortable like that"
"I die."
Leonhard Euler, Swiss mathematician and scientist (18 September 1783)
"I am tired of ruling over slaves."
("Ich bin es müde, über Sklaven zu herrschen.")
Frederick the Great, king of Prussia (17 August 1786)
"We are all going to Heaven, and van Dyke is of the company."
Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (2 August 1788)
"Waiting, are they? Well – let 'em wait."
Ethan Allen, American patriot and militia general (12 February 1789), to a doctor who had told him the angels were waiting for him
"A dying man can do nothing easy."
Benjamin Franklin, American statesman and scientist (17 April 1790), complaining about difficulty to assume a more comfortable position on his deathbed
"I believe we shall adjourn this meeting to another place."
Adam Smith, Scottish economist (17 July 1790)
"The taste of death is upon my lips... I feel something, that is not of this earth."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer (5 December 1791)
The costume Gustav III wore to the fatal masquerade ball.
"I feel sleepy, a short time of rest would do me good."
("Jag känner mig sömnig, ett kort ögonblicks vila skulle göra mig gott.")
Gustav III, king of Sweden (29 March 1792), in a hospital bed after being shot at a masquerade two weeks earlier
"Don't let the awkward squad fire over me."
Robert Burns, Scottish poet (21 July 1796)
"Water."
Catherine the Great, empress of Russia (17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796)
"I have lived as a philosopher. I die as a Christian."
Giacomo Casanova, Italian adventurer and author (4 June 1798)
"'Tis well. I die hard, but I am not afraid to go."
George Washington, president of the United States (14 December 1799), speaking to his wife Martha

19th century

"Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian."
Alexander Hamilton, American statesman (12 July 1804), addressing his wife after being mortally shot by his rival Aaron Burr in a duel
Nelson is shot on the quarterdeck, painted by Denis Dighton, c. 1825.
"Thank God, I have done my duty."
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, Royal Navy admiral (21 October 1805), mortally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar
"I think I could eat one of Bellamy's veal pies."
William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (23 January 1806)
"I die happy."
Charles James Fox, British statesman (13 September 1806)
"I am not coward, but I am so strong. It is hard to die."
Meriwether Lewis, American explorer (11 October 1809), apparent suicide/possible murder
"I am a queen, but I have not the power to move my arms."
Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of Prussia (19 July 1810)
"Oh!"
Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (11 May 1812), mortally wounded by gunshot
"I want nothing but death."
Jane Austen, English novelist (18 July 1817), being asked by her sister Cassandra if she wanted something
"That is surprising, since I have been practicing all night."
John Philpot Curran, Irish orator, politician and wit (14 October 1817), when his doctor said he was coughing "with more difficulty"
"Nostitz, you have learned many a thing from me. Now you are to learn how peacefully a man can die."
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prussian field marshal (12 September 1819), to his aide-de-camp, August Ludwig von Nostitz
"I am mortally wounded … I think."
Stephen Decatur, United States naval officer (22 March 1820), mortally wounded in duel with James Barron
"France, the army, the head of the army, Joséphine."
("France, armée, tête d'armée, Joséphine.")
Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France (5 May 1821)
"Let not my body be sent to England. Here let my bones molder. Lay me in the first corner without pomp or nonsense."
Lord Byron, English poet (19 April 1824), to his physician, Dr. Julius Michael Millingen
"Is it the Fourth?"
Thomas Jefferson, president of the United States (4 July 1826), correctly remembering the national day of his country
"Thomas Jefferson survives."
John Adams, president of the United States (4 July 1826), unaware that Jefferson had died earlier that same day
"Pity, pity - too late!"
Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer (26 March 1827), being informed that his publisher had gifted him 12 bottles of wine
Advertisement for Sam Patch's last jump.
"Napoleon was a great man and a great general. He conquered armies and he conquered nations. But he couldn't jump the Genesee Falls. Wellington was a great man and a great soldier. He conquered armies and he conquered Napoleon, but he couldn't jump the Genesee Falls. That was left for me to do, and I can do it and will!"
Sam Patch, American daredevil (13 November 1829), prior to fatal leap from Genesee Falls
"Fuck, a bullet wound!"
("¡Carajo, un balazo!")
Antonio José de Sucre, Venezuelan independence leader and President of Peru and Bolivia (4 June 1830), after being shot while riding in the jungle of Colombia. He was said to be an educated gentleman who had never cursed until that day.
"Well, I've had a happy life."
William Hazlitt, English essayist and critic (18 September 1830)
"I regret that I should leave this world without again beholding him."
James Monroe, president of the United States (4 July 1831), referring to James Madison
"Only one man ever understood me. And he really didn't understand me."
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher (14 November 1831)
"Please open the second window of the bedroom so that more light can enter."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German statesman and writer (22 March 1832)
"Nurse, it was I who discovered leeches have red blood."
Georges Cuvier, French naturalist and zoologist (13 May 1832), to a nurse who was bleeding him
"My mind is quite unclouded. I could even be witty."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet and literary critic (25 July 1834)
"Nothing more than a change of mind, my dear."
James Madison, president of the United States (28 June 1836), to his niece, who had asked him what was the matter
"Thank you—but don't kiss me; it is the sweat of death. I am dying, and it's for the best."
John Field, Irish pianist and composer (23 January 1837), to his friend Gebhard
Duel of Pushkin and d'Anthes.
"Try to be forgotten. Go live in the country. Stay in mourning for two years, then remarry, but choose somebody decent."
Alexander Pushkin, Russian poet (10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1837), to his wife, Natalia Pushkina, after being mortally wounded in a duel with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès, who was rumored to be having an affair with Natalia
"Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more."
William Henry Harrison, president of the United States (4 April 1841), to his doctor but possibly intended for John Tyler, his vice-president and successor
"Magellan, Magellan!"
("¡Magallanes, Magallanes!")
Bernardo O'Higgins, Chilean independence leader and statesman (24 October 1842)
"Oh Lord My God..."
Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism (27 June 1844), before falling from a window during his murder
"What is the matter with my dear children? Have I alarmed you? Oh, do not cry. Be good children and we will all meet in Heaven."
Andrew Jackson, president of the United States (8 June 1845)
"Peace! Joy!"
Henry Francis Lyte, Anglican poet (20 November 1847)
"This is the last of Earth. I am content."
John Quincy Adams, president of the United States (21 February 1848)
"If you will send for a doctor I will see him now."
Emily Brontë, English novelist (19 December 1848), to her sister Charlotte
"Take courage, Charlotte; take courage."
Anne Brontë, English novelist (28 May 1849), to her sister Charlotte
"I love you, Sarah. For all eternity, I love you."
James K. Polk, president of the United States (15 June 1849), to his wife, Sarah Childress Polk
"Lord, help my poor soul."
Edgar Allan Poe, American writer (7 October 1849), quoting one of his poems
"Not yet."
("Pas encore.")
Frédéric Chopin, Polish composer and pianist (17 October 1849), asked by his physician if he was suffering
"The South! The poor South! God knows what will become of her."
John C. Calhoun, vice president of the United States (31 March 1850)
"I regret nothing, but I am sorry to leave my friends."
Zachary Taylor, president of the United States (9 July 1850)
"'I still live."
Daniel Webster, American statesman (24 October 1852)
"Teixeira? If I am in danger, tell me; do not deceive me."
("Ó Teixeira? Se tenho perigo, diga-mo; não me engane.")
Maria II, queen regnant of Portugal (15 November 1853), addressing her surgeon during her eleventh childbirth
Death of Cathcart at Inkerman.
"I fear we are in a mess."
George Cathcart, British general and diplomat (5 November 1854), prior to his death at the Battle of Inkerman
"I no longer see you."
("Eu já o não vejo.")
Almeida Garrett, Portuguese author (9 December 1854), addressing his friend Francisco
"Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us. We have been so happy."
Charlotte Brontë, English author (31 March 1855), addressing her husband Arthur
"Do not kill me! I did not come to fight you!"
Andrew Bolon, American Bureau of Indian Affairs agent (25 September 1855), prior to his throat being cut by a member of the Yakama
"God will pardon me. That's his line of work."
("Dieu me pardonnera. C'est son métier.")
Heinrich Heine, German writer and literary critic (17 February 1856)
"What an irreparable loss!"
Auguste Comte, French philosopher (5 September 1857)
"Comfort my Peter."
("Consolem o meu Pedro.")
Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, queen consort of Portugal (17 July 1859)
"No noise, no music, no bohemia!"
Henri Murger, French author (28 January 1861)
"It is beautiful."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet (29 June 1861)
"Perhaps it is best."
John Tyler, president of the United States (18 January 1862)
"Now comes good sailing. Moose...Indian."
Henry David Thoreau, American writer (6 May 1862)
"There is but one reliance."
Martin Van Buren, president of the United States (24 July 1862)
Death of Stonewall Jackson.
"Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks.... Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."
Stonewall Jackson, American and Confederate soldier and general (10 May 1863)
"Forward men forward for God's sake and drive those fellows out of those woods."
John F. Reynolds, Union general of the American Civil War (1 July 1863), prior to being fatally shot at the Battle of Gettysburg
"Congestion. Stopped."
Joseph Henry Green, English surgeon (13 December 1863), breathing with difficulty on his deathbed and then taking his own pulse
"Why are you dodging like this? They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"
John Sedgwick, Union general of the American Civil War (9 May 1864), shortly before being shot in the head by a Confederate sharpshooter
"Lay me down, and save the flag!"
James A. Mulligan, Union Army colonel (26 July 1864), mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Kernstown
President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate nationalist, while unsuspectingly watching a stageplay. Lincoln had recently fought and won a civil war against the Confederate States.
"She won't think anything about it."
Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States (15 April 1865), assuring his wife Mary that their friend Clara would not mind them holding hands, shortly before he was fatally shot from behind
"Tell mother, tell mother, I died for my country...useless...useless..."
John Wilkes Booth, American actor and assassin of Abraham Lincoln (26 April 1865)
"And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will be near my latest breath, I here repeat and would willingly proclaim my unmitigated hatred to yankee rule--to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, and the perfidious, malignant and vile Yankee race."
Edmund Ruffin, Virginia planter and slaveowner (18 June 1865), conclusion of final diary entry before suicide
"That's Article 98; now go on to the next."
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (18 October 1865), pondering diplomatic treaties
"Ah, Luisa, you always arrive just as I am leaving."
Massimo d'Azeglio, Italian statesman, novelist and painter (15 January 1866), seeing his estranged wife arrive at his bedside as he died
Kim Douglas Wiggins' study of the Fetterman Fight, early 21st century.
"Give me 80 men and I'll ride through the whole Sioux nation."
William J. Fetterman, United States Army officer (21 December 1866), prior to death in Fetterman Fight
"I do not have to forgive my enemies. I have had them all shot."
Ramón María Narváez, 1st Duke of Valencia, Spanish general and Prime Minister of Spain (23 April 1868)
"Oh, Lord God Almighty, as thou wilt!"
James Buchanan, president of the United States (1 June 1868)
"I die for my homeland."
("Muero por mi patria.")
Francisco Solano López, 2nd president of Paraguay (1 March 1870), after his last stand in the Battle of Cerro Corá
"Yes. On the ground."
Charles Dickens, English novelist (9 June 1870), to his sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth, who had suggested he lie down after he suffered a stroke
"Tell Hill he must come up! Strike the tent!"
Robert E. Lee, American and Confederate soldier and general (12 October 1870)
"The nourishment is palatable."
Millard Fillmore, president of the United States (8 March 1874), referring to soup he had eaten
"Oh, do not cry. Be good children, and we shall meet in heaven."
Andrew Johnson, president of the United States (31 July 1875)
"Farewell, the martyrdom is no more!"
("Adeus, acabou o martírio!")
Inocêncio Francisco da Silva, Portuguese bibliographer (27 June 1876)
"Tell them I have a great pain in my left side."
George Eliot, English novelist (22 December 1880)
"So this is death … well … "
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher and author (5 February 1881)
"Who is it? Who is it?"
("¿Quién es? ¿Quién es?")
Billy the Kid, American outlaw and gunfighter (14 July 1881), entering a dark bedroom whereupon sheriff Pat Garrett shot him after recognizing his voice
"Oh, Swaim, this terrible pain. Oh, Swaim. Oh, Swaim, can't you stop this?"
James A. Garfield, president of the United States (19 September 1881), to General David G. Swaim
"I can't see a damned thing."
Morgan Earp, American lawman (18 March 1882), to his brother Wyatt
"I am not the least afraid to die."
Charles Darwin, English naturalist and evolutionary (19 April 1882)
"Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!"
("Hinaus! Letzte Worte sind für Narren, die noch nicht genug gesagt haben.")
Karl Marx, political theorist (14 March 1883), when asked by his housekeeper about his last words
Robert Emmet Odlum's fatal leap from the Brooklyn Bridge.
"Am I spitting blood?"
Robert Emmet Odlum, American swimming instructor (19 May 1885), after being fatally injured in dive off Brooklyn Bridge
"This is the fight of day and night. I see black light."
("En moi c'est le combat du jour et de la nuit.")
Victor Hugo, French novelist (22 May 1885)
"Water."
Ulysses S. Grant, president of the United States (23 July 1885)
"It doesn't seem to go!"
Emil Zsigmondy, Austrian mountain climber (6 August 1885), referring to route on south face of the Meije prior to falling to his death
"I have had no real gratification or enjoyment of any sort more than my neighbor on the next block who is worth only half a million."
William Henry Vanderbilt, American multimillionaire (8 December 1885)
"I must go in, for the fog is rising."
Emily Dickinson, American poet (15 May 1886)
"Now comes the mystery."
Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman (8 March 1887)
"Damn. This is funny."
Doc Holliday, American gambler and gunfighter (8 November 1887), after a nurse refused him a whiskey
"Is it not meningitis?"
Louisa May Alcott, American novelist (6 March 1888)
"A little while and I will be gone from among you. Whither I cannot tell. From nowhere we came, into nowhere we go. What is life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."
Crowfoot, Siksika Nation chief (25 April 1890)
"Capture & Death of Sitting Bull" by Kurz and Allison.
"I am not going. Do with me what you like. I am not going. Come on! Come on! Take action! Let's go!"
Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota leader (15 December 1890), during unsuccessful attempt by police to arrest him
"How were the circus receipts today at Madison Square Garden?"
P. T. Barnum, American showman (7 April 1891)
"God Bless Captain Vere!"
Herman Melville, American novelist (28 September 1891), quoting his final, unfinished novella, Billy Budd
"Warry, shift!"
Walt Whitman, American poet (26 March 1892), to a nurse
"I know I am going where Lucy is."
Rutherford B. Hayes, president of the United States (17 January 1893), referring to his wife, Lucy Webb Hayes, who had died in 1889
"What's that? Do I look strange?"
Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author (3 December 1894), to his wife, Fanny Stevenson, before collapsing from a cerebral haemorrhage
"I want to get mumbo-jumbo out of the world."
William Morris, British poet and socialist (3 October 1896), to his family doctor
"Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you."
("Ah, der schmeckt schön. Danke.")
Johannes Brahms, German composer (3 April 1897), after being given a glass of wine
Richard Von Albade Gammon in his athletic attire.
"No, Bill, I've got too much Georgia grit for that."
Richard Von Albade Gammon, American football fullback fatally injured in game (31 October 1897), responding to teammate who asked if he was going to give up
"Take away these pillows, I won't need them any longer."
Lewis Carroll, English mathematician and novelist (14 January 1898)
"I am imploring you – burn all the indecent poems and drawings."
Aubrey Beardsley, English illustrator and author (16 March 1898)
"Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn't made that will kill me."
Buckey O'Neill, captain in Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders (1 July 1898), just before being shot in the mouth prior to charge up Kettle Hill
"House."
("Haus.")
Otto von Bismarck, German statesman (30 July 1898), writing on a piece of paper with unknown meaning
"Keep up the fire, men."
Emerson H. Liscum, United States Army colonel (13 July 1900), dying after being shot at the Battle of Tientsin
"My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go."
Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright (30 November 1900)

20th century

"Bertie."
Victoria, queen regnant of the United Kingdom (22 January 1901), calling to her eldest son and heir, Albert, Prince of Wales.
"Are the doctors here? Doctor, my lungs..."
Benjamin Harrison, president of the United States (13 March 1901), dying of pneumonia
The fatal shooting of President William McKinley in the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
"Goodbye, all, goodbye. It is God's way. His will be done."
William McKinley, president of the United States (14 September 1901), dying after being shot on 6 September
"So little done, so much to do."
Cecil Rhodes, British businessman and politician (26 March 1902)
"Have you brought the chequebook, Alfred?"
Samuel Butler, English novelist (18 June 1902)
"It's a long time since I drank champagne."
("Давно я не пил шампанского...")
Anton Chekhov, Russian author and playwright (15 July [O.S. 2 July] 1904), to his wife, Olga
"On the contrary!"
("Tvertimod!")
Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright (23 May 1906), to his maid, who had said his health was improving
"Doctor, you have science, I have faith."
Dmitri Mendeleev, Russian chemist (2 February [O.S. 20 January] 1907)
"In spite of it all, I am going to sleep; put out the lights."
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, American author and editor (19 March 1907)
"I have tried so hard to do right."
Grover Cleveland, president of the United States (24 June 1908), to his wife Frances
"I am about the extent of a tenth of a gnat's eyebrow better."
Joel Chandler Harris, American author and folklorist (3 July 1908), on being asked how he felt
"Never again allow a woman to hold the supreme power in the State... [and] be careful not to allow eunuchs to meddle in government affairs."
Empress Dowager Cixi, de facto ruler of China (15 November 1908)
"Cut 'er loose, Doc!"
Frederic Remington, American artist (26 December 1909), prior to emergency appendectomy; he subsequently died of peritonitis
"Give me my glasses."
Mark Twain, American novelist (21 April 1910), to his daughter Clara
"Yes, I have heard of it. I am very glad."
Edward VII, king of the United Kingdom (6 May 1910), on being told by his son that one of his horses had won a race
"Pull up the shades; I don't want to go home in the dark."
O. Henry, American writer (5 June 1910), to a hospital nurse
The funeral of Jorge Chávez in Paris.
"Higher. Always higher."
("Arriba. Siempre arriba.")
Jorge Chávez, Peruvian aviator (27 September 1910), after being fatally injured in airplane crash
"To die this way is stupid... And it would please so many scoundrels!… This very night, Magalhães, I could have died for the Republic!"
("Morrer assim é estúpido… E há tanto malandro que ia ficar radiante!… Esta noite, Magalhães, podia eu morrer pela República!")
Miguel Bombarda, Portuguese psychiatrist (3 October 1910), after being shot by a mental patient
"But the peasants...how do the peasants die?"
Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (20 November [O.S. 7 November] 1910), to a station master in whose home he died
"Mozart!"
Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer (18 May 1911)
"Put your hands on my shoulders and don't struggle."
W. S. Gilbert, English dramatist and librettist (29 May 1911), while saving 17-year-old Ruby Preece from drowning, which caused his fatal heart attack
"One last drink, please."
Jack Daniel, American alcohol businessman (10 October 1911)
Painting of Lawrence Oates leaving the tent by John Charles Dollman.
"I am just going outside and may be some time."
Lawrence Oates, British Antarctic explorer (17 March 1912), prior to walking out of tent and into blizzard on Terra Nova Expedition
"The ladies have to go first.... Get in the lifeboat, to please me.... Good-bye, dearie. I'll see you later."
John Jacob Astor IV, American businessman (15 April 1912), remaining aboard the RMS Titanic while his pregnant wife boarded lifeboat
"Well boys, do your best for the women and children, and look out for yourselves."
Edward Smith, sea captain of the RMS Titanic (15 April 1912), giving orders before walking onto the bridge and staying with the sinking ship
"Swing low, sweet chariot."
Harriet Tubman, American humanitarian and activist (10 March 1913)
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated during a motorcade ride through Sarajevo by a group of nationalists. This was the first event in a series that triggered World War I.
"It is nothing... it is nothing..."
("Es ist gar nichts... es ist gar nichts...")
Franz Ferdinand, archduke and heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary (28 June 1914), on his way to a hospital after being fatally shot by a Serbian nationalist
"Hullo."
Rupert Brooke, English poet (23 April 1915), to William Denis Browne, who visited him on his deathbed
"Why fear death? Death is only a beautiful adventure."
Charles Frohman, American theater manager and producer (7 May 1915), paraphrasing Peter Pan prior to dying in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania
"Well, they have got us. They are a damn sight worse than I ever thought they were."
Elbert Hubbard, American writer and publisher (7 May 1915), prior to dying with his wife in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania
"There does not seem to be anything to do."
Alice Moore Hubbard, American feminist and writer (7 May 1915), prior to dying with her husband in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania
"Put that bloody cigarette out!"
Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), British writer (14 November 1916), prior to being killed by a German sniper during the Battle of the Ancre
"Please put out that light, James."
Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States and Medal of Honor recipient (6 January 1919), to family servant James Amos
"Goodbye, until Heaven!"
("Adeus, até ao Céu!")
Saint Francisco Marto, Portuguese Marian mysticist (4 April 1919), to his cousin Lúcia
"Now we can cross the Shifting Sands."
L. Frank Baum, American author (5 May 1919), referring to a fictional location in one of his books
"Never mind, it is good to die for our country."
("אין דבר, טוב למות בעד ארצנו")
Joseph Trumpeldor, Jewish Zionist activist (1 March 1920), during the battle of Tel Hai
"I'm all right; tell Mays not to worry... ring....Katie's ring."
Ray Chapman, American baseball player (17 August 1920), referring to the pitcher who had fatally beaned him and to his wedding band
"Some day, when things look real tough for Notre Dame, ask the boys to go out there and win one for the Gipper."
George Gipp, American college football player (14 December 1920), to Knute Rockne while dying of pneumonia
"No."
(signing 'no' in sign language)
Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-American inventor (2 August 1922), replying to his deaf wife Mabel's plea "Don't leave me."
"I thought this was the most beautiful spot in the world, and now I know it."
W. P. Ker, Scottish literary scholar (17 July 1923), to his hiking companions on the Pizzo Bianco before suffering a heart attack
"That's good. Go on, read some more."
Warren G. Harding, president of the United States (2 August 1923), to his wife, Florence Harding, who had been reading aloud a flattering Saturday Evening Post article about him
"Good dog."
("Вот собака.")
Vladimir Lenin, Russian communist statesman and revolutionary (21 January 1924), to his dog who brought him a dead bird
"When the machinery is broken... I am ready."
Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States (3 February 1924)
"Kill me, or else you are a murderer!"
Franz Kafka, German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer (3 June 1924), asking his doctors for morphine overdose while dying of tuberculosis
"You're too slow...too slow."
Floyd Collins, American cave explorer (c. 13 February 1925), to rescue workers trying to free him from his entrapment in Sand Cave, Kentucky
"I don't feel good."
Luther Burbank, American botanist (11 April 1926)
"Farewell, my friends. I go to glory!"
("Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire!")
Isadora Duncan, American/French dancer (14 September 1927), just before dying in freak car accident
Hawthorne C. Gray prior to fatal altitude record attempt.
"Sky deep blue, sun very bright, sand all gone."
Hawthorne C. Gray, American aeronaut (4 November 1927), final journal entry during balloon altitude record attempt
"What's the news?"
Clarence W. Barron, American newsman and de facto manager of The Wall Street Journal (2 October 1928)
"Me mudder did it."
Arnold Rothstein, American mobster (6 November 1928), when asked who had fatally shot him
"The prettier. Now fight for it."
Henry Arthur Jones, English dramatist (7 January 1929), when his nurse and his niece asked which of them he would prefer to stay with him
"Everything's gone wrong, my girl."
Arnold Bennett, English writer (27 March 1931), to his mistress, Dorothy Cheston
"So long...Good-bye..."
("Wiedersehen...Gruss...")
Paul Anlauf, German police captain (9 August 1931), assassinated by members of the Communist Party of Germany including Erich Mielke
"It's very beautiful over there."
Thomas Edison, American inventor (18 October 1931), speaking words of unclear meaning as he was dying
"To my friends / My work is done / Why wait? / G.E."
George Eastman, American entrepreneur (14 March 1932), as his suicide note, before shooting himself in the chest
"Goodbye, everybody!"
Hart Crane, American poet (27 April 1932), prior to jumping off cruise ship
"Curtain! Fast music! Lights! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good. The show looks good."
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., American Broadway impresario (22 July 1932)
"Good morning, Robert."
Calvin Coolidge, president of the United States (5 January 1933), to a carpenter working on his house
"Why should I talk to you? I've just been talking to your boss."
Wilson Mizner, American playwright and entrepreneur (3 April 1933), to a priest at his deathbed
"I don't want it."
("Je ne le veux pas.")
Marie Curie, Polish-French scientist (4 July 1934), upon being offered a painkilling injection
"When all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one."
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, American humanist and writer (17 August 1935), in her suicide note
Pistol supposedly used to kill Huey Long.
"I wonder why he shot me."
Huey Long, United States Senator (10 September 1935), after being fatally shot
"Mother is the best bet."
Dutch Schultz, American mobster (24 October 1935)
"Give me the glasses."
("Dá-me os óculos.")
Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet (30 November 1935), to the nurse who treated him
"God damn you!"
George V, king of the United Kingdom (20 January 1936), to a nurse giving him a sedative
"I think I'm going to make it."
Richard A. Loeb, American murderer (28 January 1936), after being slashed 56 times with a razor in a prison fight
"Indeed – very good. I shall – have to repeat – that – on the Golden Floor."
A. E. Housman, English classical scholar and poet (30 April 1936), to his doctor, who had just told a risqué joke
"All fled, all done So lift me on the pyre. The feast is over And the lamps expire."
Robert E. Howard, American author and creator of Conan the Barbarian (11 June 1936); his suicide note, a quotation from "The House of Cæsar" by Viola Garvin
"I cannot go on."
("Ich kann nicht mehr.")
Toni Kurz, German mountain climber (22 July 1936), dying on the Eiger north face
"I can't sleep."
J. M. Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright (19 June 1937)
Amelia Earhart and her aircraft disappeared in the Pacific Ocean during her attempted world circumnavigation. It is believed that she crashed into the ocean and died.
"We are running on line north and south."
Amelia Earhart, American aviation pioneer (c. 2 July 1937), reporting to her headquarters in her last known radio transmission shortly before her disappearance
"I'm bored. I'm bored."
Gabriele D'Annunzio, Italian author and soldier (1 March 1938)
"Watch out, please."
Egon Friedell, Austrian polymath (16 March 1938), before jumping out a window to avoid capture by Gestapo
"What time is it?"
("Saat kaç?")
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, President of Turkey (10 November 1938)
"Never felt better."
Douglas Fairbanks, American actor and filmmaker (12 December 1939)
"I feel this time they have succeeded. I do not want them to undress me. I want you to undress me."
Leon Trotsky, Soviet revolutionary (21 August 1940), to his wife, Natalia Sedova, while being prepared for surgery after being mortally wounded by assassin Ramón Mercader
"Does nobody understand?"
James Joyce, Irish novelist (13 January 1941)
"I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been."
Virginia Woolf, English writer (28 March 1941), addressing her husband Leonard in her suicide note, drowning herself later that day
"You heard me, Mike."
John Barrymore, American actor (29 May 1942), to his brother, Lionel Barrymore, who had failed to understand something he said
"The bastards tried to come over me last night – I guess they didn't know I was a Marine."
Edward H. Ahrens, United States Marine Raider (8 August 1942), found mortally wounded during the Guadalcanal campaign surrounded by 13 dead Japanese soldiers
"Did they get off?"
Douglas Albert Munro, Second World War Medal of Honor recipient (27 September 1942), to his friend Raymond Evans after using his Higgins boat to direct fire away from evacuating American troops
"I'm on fire."
Walter Nowotny, Second World War German fighter ace (8 November 1944) crashing due to engine failure after combat with United States Army Air Force planes
"I have a terrific headache."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the United States (12 April 1945)
"Are you all right?"
Ernie Pyle, American war correspondent (18 April 1945), to Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge before being fatally shot on Iejima during the Battle of Okinawa
"Shoot me in the chest!"
("Sparami nel petto!")
Benito Mussolini, Italian fascist statesman (28 April 1945), facing a partisan leader
Adolf Hitler committed suicide to avoid capture after losing World War II.
"Above all, I charge the leadership of the nation and their followers with the strict observance of the racial laws and with merciless resistance against the universal poisoners of all peoples, international Jewry."
("Vor allem verpflichte ich die Führung der Nation und die Gefolgschaft zur peinlichen Einhaltung der Rassegesetze und zum unbarmherzigen Widerstand gegen den Weltvergifter aller Völker, das internationale Judentum.")
Adolf Hitler, German Nazi statesman (30 April 1945), closing his last will before committing joint suicide with his wife Eva
"I am Heinrich Himmler."
Heinrich Himmler, German Nazi officer (23 May 1945)
"No. (And supposing you were?)"
Robert Benchley, American humorist (21 November 1945); words jotted beside the title of an essay he was reading, "Am I Thinking?"
"All planes close up tight ... will have to ditch unless landfall ... when the first plane drops to ten gallons, we all go down together."
Charles Carroll Taylor, United States Naval Reserve lieutenant (5 December 1945), last transmission before Flight 19 disappeared over Bermuda Triangle
"Shakespeare, I come."
Theodore Dreiser, American novelist (28 December 1945)
"What is the answer? In that case, what is the question?"
Gertrude Stein, American writer (27 July 1946), addressing her life partner Alice B. Toklas
"Go away. I'm all right."
H. G. Wells, English author and futurist (13 August 1946)
"God protect Germany. God have mercy on my soul. My final wish is that Germany should recover her unity and that, for the sake of peace, there should be understanding between East and West. I wish peace to the world."
Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Nazi politician (16 October 1946)
"Heil Hitler, this is my Purim Fest in 1946! I am going to God. The Bolsheviks will hang you one day!"
("Heil Hitler! Dies ist mein Purimfest 1946. Ich gehe zu Gott. Die Bolschewisten werden eines Tages Euch auch hängen")
Julius Streicher, Nazi activist and the head publisher of the notorious antisemitic newspaper Der Stürmer (16 October 1946)
"God damn the whole fuckin’ world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta."
W. C. Fields, American entertainer (25 December 1946), addressing his mistress
"You ass-face!"
("¡Cara de poto!")
Vicente Huidobro, Chilean poet (2 January 1948) after regaining consciousness, he confesses to his loved ones that he was afraid and made his friend Henriette Petit cry, when he stared at her and shouted this expression
"Oh God!"
("हे राम!")
Mahatma Gandhi, Indian revolutionary and pacifist (30 January 1948), shortly after being shot by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse
"I'm going over the valley."
Babe Ruth, American baseball player (16 August 1948)
"Frenzy hath seized thy dearest son, / Who from thy shores in glory came / The first in valor and in fame; / Thy deeds that he hath done / Seem hostile all to hostile eyes.... / Better to die, and sleep / The never waking sleep, than linger on, / And dare to live, when the soul's life is gone."
James Forrestal, United States Secretary of Defense (22 May 1949); his suicide note, a quotation from the play Ajax by Sophocles
"At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves."
George Orwell, English author (21 January 1950), dying at the age of 46
"This is it! I'm going. I'm going."
Al Jolson, American singer and actor (23 October 1950)
"I'm finished. I don't even trust myself."
Joseph Stalin, Soviet statesman (5 March 1953)
Kilachand Hall at Boston University, formerly the Sheraton Hotel where Eugene O'Neill died.
"I knew it! Born in a goddamned hotel room, and dying in a hotel room."
Eugene O'Neill, American playwright (27 November 1953), to his wife Carlotta Monterey
"Doctor, do you think it could have been the sausage?"
("Docteur, pensez-vous que cela aurait pu être la saucisse?")
Paul Claudel, French writer and diplomat (23 February 1955)
"I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly."
Albert Einstein, German physicist (18 April 1955), declining surgery the day before his death
"That guy's gotta stop... He'll see us."
James Dean, American actor (30 September 1955), to his friend Rolf Wütherich, moments before the car crash
"I'm glad to sit on the back row, for I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty."
Alben W. Barkley, vice-president of the United States (30 April 1956), alluding to Psalms 84:10 just before dying of a heart attack while giving keynote address at the 1956 Washington and Lee Mock Convention
"No. Thanks for everything."
Max Beerbohm, English essayist, parodist and caricaturist (20 May 1956), on being asked if he had had a good sleep
"There she goes!"
Milburn G. Apt, American test pilot (27 September 1956), final radio transmission while losing control of Bell X-2
"Goodbye, kid. Hurry back."
Humphrey Bogart, American actor (14 January 1957), to his wife Lauren as she left to collect their children, after which he entered a fatal coma
"Mind your business!"
Wyndham Lewis, English writer and painter (7 March 1957), when asked on his deathbed about his bowels
"No.... Awfully jolly of you to suggest it, though."
Ronald Knox, English Roman Catholic priest and writer (24 August 1957), when Lady Elton asked if he would like her to read from his translation of the New Testament
"I wish to announce the first plank in my campaign for reelection...we're going to have the floors in this goddamned hospital smoothed out!"
James Michael Curley, American politician (12 November 1958), to his son while being wheeled out of surgery
"I think I'll be more comfortable."
Lou Costello, American actor and comedian (3 March 1959), asking a nurse to change his position in bed
"I'm tired. I'm going back to bed."
George Reeves, American actor (16 June 1959), prior to his apparent suicide
"Are you happy? I'm happy."
Ethel Barrymore, American actress (18 June 1959), to her maid, Anna Albert
"These guys are supposed to be American? My ass!"
Boris Vian, French polymath (23 June 1959), while watching film adaptation of his novel I Spit on Your Graves
"Dying is easy. Comedy is difficult."
Edmund Gwenn, English actor (6 September 1959)
"I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
Errol Flynn, Australian-born American actor (14 October 1959)
"Oh God, here I go."
Max Baer, American boxer (21 November 1959), dying of heart attack
"He is safe! He is safe! Oh, joy!"
("È salvo! È salvo! Oh, gioia!")
Leonard Warren, American operatic baritone (4 March 1960), performing in La Forza del Destino at the Metropolitan Opera before dying on stage
"Why am I hemorrhaging?"
Boris Pasternak, Russian author (30 May 1960), to his wife Zinaida
"I'm dizzy!"
Knud Enemark Jensen, Danish cyclist (26 August 1960), shortly before collapsing to the pavement while competing in the 1960 Summer Olympics
"I am so bored."
St John Philby, British Arabist and intelligence officer (30 September 1960)
"Goodnight my kitten."
Ernest Hemingway, American author (2 July 1961), before committing suicide with a shotgun
"God bless … God damn."
James Thurber, American humorist (2 November 1961)
"Remember, honey, don’t forget what I told you. Put in my coffin a deck of cards, a mashie niblick, and a pretty blonde."
Chico Marx, American actor and comedian (11 October 1961), giving his wife Mary humorous instructions for his funeral
"I'm going to stop now, but I'm going to sharpen the ax before I put it up, dear."
E. E. Cummings, American poet (3 September 1962), to his wife, who was worried it was too hot for him to be chopping wood; he then suffered a stroke
"Yes."
Ian James Campbell, American police officer (9 March 1963), just before being fatally shot, in response to his killer asking if he had heard of the Little Lindbergh Law
"All the damn fool things you do in life you pay for."
Édith Piaf, French singer-songwriter (10 October 1963), to her sister
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during a motorcade ride through Dallas. This picture was taken a few minutes before the shooting.
"No, you certainly can't."
John F. Kennedy, president of the United States (22 November 1963), replying to co-passenger Nellie Connally saying "You certainly can't say Dallas doesn't love you, Mr. President." while travelling through Dallas in a motorcade, seconds before he was fatally shot by a sniper
"10-4."
J. D. Tippit, American police officer (22 November 1963), over his police radio shortly before being shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald
"I will be glad to discuss this proposition with my attorney, and that after I talk with one, we could either discuss it with him or discuss it with my attorney if the attorney thinks it is a wise thing to do, but at the present time I have nothing more to say to you."
Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy (24 November 1963), to United States Secret Service Inspector Thomas Kelly, just before being shot by Jack Ruby
"You made one mistake. You married me."
Brendan Behan, Irish writer (20 March 1964), to his wife Beatrice
"Am I dying or is this my birthday?"
Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-born British politician (2 May 1964), awakening on her deathbed to see her entire family around her
"My God, Ned, help me! I'm on fire!"
Fireball Roberts, American stock car racer (2 July 1964), inside his burning car after 24 May 1964 wreck during the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway; Roberts survived for six weeks before dying of his injuries
"I am sorry to trouble you chaps. I don't know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the road these days."
Ian Fleming, English naval intelligence officer and novelist (12 August 1964), to ambulance crew
"I'm bored with it all."
Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom (24 January 1965)
Bullet holes in back of stage where Malcolm X was shot.
"Brothers! Brothers, please! This is a house of peace!"
Malcolm X, American activist (21 February 1965), trying to calm a 400-person chaos shortly before being killed by gunfire from multiple assailants
"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it."
W. Somerset Maugham, English author (15 December 1965), to his nephew Robin Maugham
"Do you know where I can get any shit?"
Lenny Bruce, American comedian (3 August 1966), asking about the availability of drugs
Strato Jump III gondola at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
"Emerg-!"
Nick Piantanida, American parachutist (29 August 1966), making emergency transmission from Strato Jump III balloon during decompression accident on 1 May 1966; the accident left him in a coma until his death
"Ron Miller \ Way Down Cellar \ Kirt Russell [sic] \ CIA - Mobley"
Walt Disney, American animation pioneer and businessman (15 December 1966), written on the bottom of a page
"The water's dark green and I can't see a bloody thing. Hallo the bow is up. I'm going. I'm on my back. I'm gone."
Donald Campbell, British racer (4 January 1967), just before fatal crash of Bluebird K7 hydroplane while trying to set new world water speed record
"How are we going to get to the moon if we can't talk between two or three buildings?"
Gus Grissom, American astronaut (27 January 1967), during Apollo 1 launch rehearsal test moments before a deadly fire broke out
"On! On! On!"
Tom Simpson, British cyclist (13 July 1967), asking to be put back on his bike prior to his death on Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France
"Mayday, Mayday, NASA 922, am ejecting."
Clifton Williams, American astronaut (5 October 1967), prior to unsuccessful ejection from crashing airplane
"I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."
("Sé que estas aqui para matarme. Dispara, cobarde, solo vas a matar a un hombre.")
Che Guevara, Argentinean statesman and revolutionary (9 October 1967), facing his captors
Wreckage of Michael J. Adams' X-15.
"I'm in a spin."
Michael J. Adams, American astronaut (15 November 1967), prior to crash of North American X-15 spaceplane
"I know this beach like the back of my hand."
Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia (17 December 1967), prior to disappearing while swimming at Cheviot Beach
"Never again, never again."
Bill Masterton, Canadian American ice hockey player (15 January 1968), after sustaining fatal head injury in NHL game
"Codeine... bourbon."
Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (12 December 1968)
"Ben, make sure you play 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord' in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty."
Martin Luther King Jr., American activist (4 April 1968), speaking to musician Ben Branch shortly before being shot
"Don't lift me."
Robert F. Kennedy, American politician (6 June 1968), speaking to medical attendants who lifted him onto a stretcher several minutes after he was shot and fatally losing consciousness shortly thereafter
"I've always loved my wife, my children, and my grandchildren, and I've always loved my country. I want to go. God, take me."
Dwight D. Eisenhower, president of the United States (28 March 1969)
"I feel pain here."
("Ça fait mal là.")
Charles de Gaulle, French statesman (9 November 1970), pointing at his neck seconds before he unexpectedly died from aneurysm
"Human life is limited; but I would like to live forever."
Yukio Mishima, Japanese author (25 November 1970), prior to seppuku
"You see, this is how you die."
("Vous voyez, c'est comme ça que vous mourez.")
Coco Chanel, French fashion businesswoman (10 January 1971)
"Dear world, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool — good luck."
George Sanders, British actor (25 April 1972); one of his suicide notes
"Send Mike immediately."
Lyndon B. Johnson, president of the United States (22 January 1973), referring to his Secret Service agent
"Good night my darlings. I'll see you tomorrow."
Noël Coward, English playwright, composer and performer (26 March 1973), going to bed the night before he died
"Drink to me."
Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist (8 April 1973)
"It is stuffy, sticky, and rainy here at present – but forecasts are more favourable."
J. R. R. Tolkien, English writer and academic (2 September 1973), postscript of letter to his daughter Priscilla
"Throw it, just throw it."
Murray Hudson, GC, New Zealand infantry sergeant (13 February 1974), to soldier who froze with armed grenade; the grenade exploded as Hudson tried to release it, killing both men
"My dear, before you kiss me good-bye, fix your hair. It's a mess."
George Kelly, American playwright and actor (18 June 1974), to one of his nieces
"In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts and in living color, you are going to see another first - an attempted suicide."
Christine Chubbuck, American news anchor for WXLT (15 July 1974), immediately before shooting herself in the head on air
"You can't kill this tough Jew."
Rod Serling, American screenwriter (28 June 1975), note written from hospital bed to colleague Owen Comora
The ship's bell from SS Edmund Fitzgerald, recovered from the wreck in 1995.
"We are holding our own."
Ernest M. McSorley, Canadian sailor and captain of SS Edmund Fitzgerald (10 November 1975), last transmission before ship went down in storm on Lake Superior
"Oh God! No! Help! Someone help!"
Sal Mineo, American actor (12 February 1976), while being murdered
"I feel ill. Call the doctors."
("我很难受,叫医生来。")
Mao Zedong, Chinese statesman and revolutionary (9 September 1976)
"TV four just lost -"
Francis Gary Powers, American pilot (1 August 1977), last radio transmission before helicopter crash killed him and cameraman George Spears
"I'm going to the bathroom to read."
Elvis Presley, American musician (16 August 1977), shortly before being found dead on the bathroom floor
"This is no way to live!"
Groucho Marx, American actor and comedian (19 August 1977)
"That was a great game of golf, fellas. Let's get a Coke."
Bing Crosby, American singer and actor (14 October 1977), moments before collapsing and dying of a heart attack
"Why not? After all, it belongs to him."
Charlie Chaplin, English actor and filmmaker (25 December 1977), to a priest who had said, "May the Lord have mercy on your soul"
"What do you think I'm gonna do? Blow my brains out?"
Terry Kath, American lead singer and guitarist of Chicago (23 January 1978), before accidentally shooting himself
"This is it, baby."
— Captain James McFeron, pilot of PSA Flight 182, as the Boeing 727 crashes after colliding with a Cessna 172 over San Diego.
"It's not an aircraft...it's....."
Frederick Valentich, Australian aviator (21 October 1978), last transmission before disappearing after possibly sighting a UFO
"All stop."
Tony Prangley, British commercial diver (26 November 1978), prior to anchor chain severing diving bell connections to MS Star Canopus, causing bell containing Prangley and fellow diver Michael Ward to plummet to the sea floor
"Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub."
Conrad Hilton, American hotelier (3 January 1979), on being asked if he had any final words of wisdom
"One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes."
Alfred Hitchcock, English filmmaker (29 April 1980)
Photo of David A. Johnston taken 13.5 hours before his death.
"Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"
David A. Johnston, American volcanologist (18 May 1980), reporting the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens from observation post
"I'm shot! I'm shot!"
John Lennon, English musician (8 December 1980), moments after being fatally shot
"Money can't buy life."
Bob Marley, Jamaican musician (11 May 1981)
"Everybody has got to die, but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?"
William Saroyan, American author (18 May 1981); final message telephoned to Associated Press
"Just don't leave me alone."
John Belushi, American actor and comedian (5 March 1982)
"I am going."
Sobhuza II, King of Swaziland, longest verifiably-reigning monarch in recorded history (21 August 1982), to his minister of health after halting a meeting
"Mother, I'm going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me and I'm never coming back."
Marvin Gaye, American singer (1 April 1984), moments before being shot to death by his father
"It's... the end!"
("ああ、だめだ")
— Captain Masami Takahama (12 August 1985), pilot of Japan Airlines Flight 123, just before the plane crashes into a mountain.
"I have a problem, I have a real problem."
Art Scholl, American aerobatic pilot (16 September 1985), after his plane entered a flat inverted spin during filming of Top Gun
"Don't, don't, don't, this will hurt someone. Sit down."
R. Budd Dwyer, American politician (22 January 1987), to the reporters who tried to stop him from shooting himself on live television
"Where is my clock?"
("Dónde está mi reloj?")
Salvador Dalí, Spanish surrealist painter (23 January 1989)
"I'm begging you, let me work!"
Osamu Tezuka, Japanese cartoonist (9 February 1989), to a nurse who tried to take away his drawing equipment
"Ah, shit."
Marc Lépine, Canadian perpetrator of the École Polytechnique massacre (6 December 1989), before fatally shooting himself
"I don't want to lay down."
Hank Gathers, American basketball player (4 March 1990), after collapsing during game
"What is this?"
Leonard Bernstein, American composer and conductor (14 October 1990)
"Ow, fuck!"
Roald Dahl, British author (23 November 1990), after a nurse pricked him with a needle
"Will it be an interesting experience? Will I find out what lies beyond the barrier? Why does it take so long to come?"
Graham Greene, English novelist (3 April 1991), to his companion Yvonne Cloetta
"Don't worry. Relax."
Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India (21 May 1991), spoken to a policewoman at his assassination
"Pee-pee."
Freddie Mercury, British lead vocalist of Queen (24 November 1991), requesting to use the bathroom, dying shortly after returning to his bed
"Okay, okay, okay."
Sam Kinison, American comic (10 April 1992), spoken after a fatal car accident
"I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL!"
Chris McCandless, American hiker (August 1992), final note written before dying of starvation
"It's better to burn out than to fade away."
Kurt Cobain, American musician (5 April 1994), closing his suicide note
"Help."
Richard Nixon, president of the United States (22 April 1994), to a housekeeper while suffering a stroke
Ayrton Senna's fatal crash.
"The car seems OK ..."
Ayrton Senna, Brazilian Formula One driver (1 May 1994), prior to fatal crash at 1994 San Marino Grand Prix
"Yolanda...158."
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, American singer (31 March 1995), explaining her murderer's name and room number to the hotel staff shortly after being shot
"You only live so long."
Richard Versalle, American operatic tenor (5 January 1996), performing in The Makropulos Case at the Metropolitan Opera before dying on stage
"Mom, do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain? Mom, I just want to take off in the plane."
Jessica Dubroff, seven-year-old American pilot trainee (11 April 1996), before dying in aircraft crash
"I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much."
Rob Hall, New Zealand mountaineer (11 May 1996), speaking to his wife by satellite phone before dying on Mount Everest
"Why? Why not?"
Timothy Leary, American psychologist and writer (31 May 1996)
"This is for you!"
Ricardo López, Uruguayan-born American pest controller (12 September 1996), before committing suicide with a gun after he mailed a bomb to Icelandic musician Björk, attempting to kill her
"Fuck you."
Tupac "2Pac" Shakur, American rapper (13 September 1996), to the first responder police officer at the scene of his murder
"My God, what's happened?"
Diana, former princess consort of Charles, Prince of Wales (31 August 1997), shortly after being fatally wounded in a car accident
Plaque marking location of John Denver's plane crash in Pacific Grove, California
"Do you have it now?"
John Denver, American singer-songwriter (12 October 1997), asking if he had transmitted a four-digit code properly prior to crash of his experimental Rutan Long-EZ aircraft
"And where do you come from?"
Isaiah Berlin, Russian-British philosopher (5 November 1997), to a nurse
"Please don't leave me."
Chris Farley, American actor and comedian (8 December 1997), to a prostitute, leaving a motel where he spent his last night
"I'm losing it."
Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor (14 May 1998)
"I'll finally get to see Marilyn."
Joe DiMaggio, American baseball player (8 March 1999)
"Oooh, the Godfather, just saying his name makes my blue blood boil. OHHH! The Godfather, my arch nemesis, he represents everything that's wrong with the WWF. But fear not, because I, the Blue Blazer, will always triumph over evil doers, and you know why, because I always take my vitamins, say my prayers, and drink my milk, WHOOO!"
Owen Hart, Canadian-American professional wrestler (23 May 1999), being interviewed on camera prior to fatal fall into ring at Over the Edge (1999)

21st century

"Okay, just wondering."
Dale Earnhardt, American race car driver (18 February 2001), after asking teammate Andy Pilgrim if he had any advice for him prior to his fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500
"Are you guys ready? Let's roll!"
Todd Beamer, American passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 (11 September 2001), signaling the start of the revolt against the flight's hijackers, resulting in the plane crashing in the ensuing struggle for the controls
"It was the food!"
Richard Harris, Irish actor and singer (25 October 2002), while being wheeled out of the Savoy Hotel
"Channel 5 is all shit, isn't it? Christ, the crap they put on there. It's a waste of space."
Adam Faith, English singer and actor (8 March 2003)
"Leave me alone, I'm fine."
Barry White, American singer and songwriter (4 July 2003), to a nurse
The graves of Bob and Dolores Hope at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
"Surprise me."
Bob Hope, American actor and comedian (27 July 2003), on being asked by his wife, Dolores Hope, where he wanted to be buried
"I should have been a concert pianist."
Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist (9 September 2003)
"Jeb. Just remember, whatever happens, happens."
Dwain Weston, Australian BASE jumper (5 October 2003), to fellow skydiver Jeb Corliss prior to fatal wingsuit flight over Royal Gorge Bridge
"Thank you."
Ricardo Alfonso Cerna, Guatemalan criminal (19 December 2003), to a police officer who gave him a bottle of water, seconds before committing suicide with his handgun, which he had concealed within his clothing
"What are you shooting at?! I'm Pat Tillman! I'm Pat fucking TILLMAN!"
Pat Tillman, American football player and Army Ranger (22 April 2004), while being fatally wounded by friendly fire in Afghanistan
"My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mother's name is Suzanne. I have a brother and sister, David and Sara. I live in West Chester, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia."
Nick Berg, American radio tower repairman (7 May 2004), on video prior to beheading by Islamist militants
"I look forward to taking that off."
Dave Shaw, Australian commercial aviator and technical diver (8 January 2005), referring to his dive mask at beginning of fatal dive to recover body of Deon Dreyer
"Let me go to the house of the Father."
("Pozwólcie mi iść do domu Ojca.")
Pope John Paul II (2 April 2005)
"You're a lifesaver, Andy."
William Donaldson, British satirist and playboy (22 June 2005), to the caretaker of his building, who had collected pills for him
"Roger that, sir. Thank you."
Michael P. Murphy, United States Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient (28 June 2005), ending a radio call for help after being shot during Operation Red Wings
"I'm dying."
Steve Irwin, Australian conservationist (4 September 2006), to cameraman Justin Lyons after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb
Peter Brock's Daytona Sportscar the day before the accident.
"C'mon. Let's get this day over and done with."
Peter Brock, Australian motor racing driver (8 September 2006), to track marshal before dying in race crash
"Lucy."
Augusto Pinochet, Chilean general and statesman (10 December 2006), calling his wife Lucía Hiriart by his affectionate name for her
"I'm going away tonight."
James Brown, American musician (25 December 2006), to his manager Charles Bobbit, before dying after falling asleep
Michael Jackson asked his doctor for more propofol, and was given an injection which led to his death. The doctor was later found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
"Let me have some milk."
Michael Jackson, American musician (25 June 2009), asking his doctor for more propofol shortly before he died from an overdose of the same drug
"I'm the happiest man in the world. I've just summited a beautiful mountain."
Clifton Maloney, American businessman (25 September 2009), prior to falling asleep and not waking up at Camp 2 on Cho Oyu
"Thanks for your help. Have a great day."
Andrew Joseph Stack III, American embedded software developer (18 February 2010), to air traffic control shortly before intentionally crashing his plane into an office building in Austin, Texas
"Stopping for a beer, be there when I can."
Ryan Dunn, American stunt performer (20 June 2011), last text to Bam Margera prior to fatal car crash
"Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."
Steve Jobs, American electronics businessman (5 October 2011), looking at his family
"I'm ready to go for this thing; we can win this thing."
Dan Wheldon, British motor racing driver (16 October 2011), last radio transmission before fatal crash at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship
"I'm going to go and see Jesus."
Whitney Houston, American musician (11 February 2012)
"I called you a putz cause I thought you werebeing [sic] intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize. @CenLamar @dust92"
Andrew Breitbart, American conservative publisher and writer (1 March 2012), final tweet before dying of heart attack
"I don't want to die, please don't let me die."
("No quiero morir, por favor no me dejen morir.")
Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan statesman (5 March 2013), whispering unable to speak
"Hey, let's go for a drive."
Paul Walker, American actor (30 November 2013), prior to dying with his friend Roger Rodas in crash of Porsche Carrera GT
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"
Leonard Nimoy, American actor, filmmaker and photographer (27 February 2015), final tweet
"Has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in."
David Bowie, English singer-songwriter and actor (10 January 2016) to his friend Gary Oldman, referring to music
"I want to be with Carrie."
Debbie Reynolds, American actress and singer (28 December 2016), before dying of intracerebral hemorrhage one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher
"Judges! Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal, with disdain, I reject this verdict. I have taken poison."
("Suci! Slobodan Praljak nije ratni zločinac, s prijezirom odbacujem vašu presudu. To je otrov koji sam popio.")
Slobodan Praljak, Croatian General (29 November 2017) during the pronouncement of the appeal judgment against him at the ICTY
"God bless. Take care of my boy, Roy."
Stan Lee, American comic book writer and publisher (12 November 2018)
"I love you, too."
George H. W. Bush, president of the United States (30 November 2018), speaking to his son George
"Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644"
Kobe Bryant, American retired basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers (26 January 2020), last tweet congratulating LeBron James for passing him in the NBA’s all time scorers list, made the night before he died in a helicopter crash

Last words of people sentenced to death

  • John André, British Army officer, prior to being hanged as a spy by the Continental Army: "I pray you to bear me witness that I meet my fate like a brave man."
  • Jean Sylvain Bailly, French astronomer, mathematician and politician, to a heckler who asked if he was trembling as he approached the guillotine: "Oui mon ami, mais c'est de froid." ("Yes my friend, but it's from the cold").
  • Lena Baker: "What I done, I did in self-defense, or I would have been killed myself. Where I was I could not overcome it. God has forgiven me. I have nothing against anyone. I picked cotton for Mr. Pritchett, and he has been good to me. I am ready to go. I am one in the number. I am ready to meet my God. I have a very strong conscience."
  • Arshadu'd-Dawla, before being executed for involvement in a plot to restore Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar to the Persian throne: "Zindabad Muhammad Ali Shah!" ("Long live Shah Muhammad Ali!")
  • Arthur Gary Bishop: "I want to offer again my most profound and heartfelt apologies to my victims' families. I am truly sorry. I have tried my best to empathize with their grief and devastation and I hope they come to know of my concerns and prayers for them."
  • Black Caesar, nicknamed after the eponymous pirate and one of the first convicts transported in Australia by the British Empire, escaped the penal colony in 1789 and lived as a bushranger in the wilderness. He survived by raiding garden patches with a stolen gun. When he was eventually caught, according to colonial governor David Collins, he was "so indifferent about meeting death, that he declared in confinement that if he should be hanged he would create a laugh before he was turned off, by playing some trick upon the executioner."
  • Dmitry Bogrov, before being executed for assassination of the Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin: (to the executioner) "Should I lift my head a bit?"
  • Anne Boleyn: "Oh God, have pity on my soul. Oh God, have pity on my soul."
  • Jerome Bowden: "My name is Jerome Bowden, and I would just like to state that my execution is about to be carried out. And I would like to thank the people at this institution for taking such good care of me in the way that they did. And I hope that by my execution being carried out, that it may bring some light to this thing that is wrong. And I would like to have a final prayer with Chaplain Lizzel if that is possible. Thank you very much."
  • John Brown: "I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done."
  • Ted Bundy: "Give my love to my family and friends."
  • Edith Cavell, the British nurse executed on 12 October 1915 in German-occupied Belgium because of having helped Allied soldiers escape to the then neutral Netherlands, spoke on the night before her execution to Reverend Stirling Gahan, the Anglican chaplain who had been allowed to see her and to give her Holy Communion, and said: "Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone." These words are inscribed on her statue in St Martin's Place, near Trafalgar Square in London. Her final words to the German Lutheran prison chaplain, Paul Le Seur, were recorded as "Ask Father Gahan to tell my loved ones later on that my soul, as I believe, is safe, and that I am glad to die for my country."
  • Charles I of England, asking for his executioner to await his signal before beheading him: "Stay for the sign."
  • Erskine Childers: (Facing a firing squad) "Take a step or two closer, lads. It will be easier that way."
  • Roger Keith Coleman: "An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight. When my innocence is proven, I hope America will realize the injustice of the death penalty as all other civilized countries have. My last words are to the woman I love. Love is eternal. My love for you will last forever. I love you, Sharon." In 2006, Coleman was later found to be truly guilty due to DNA evidence.
  • Robert Charles Comer: "Go Raiders."
  • Thomas Cranmer, alluding to Acts 7:56: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit...I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."
  • Thomas Cromwell: "I die in the traditional faith."
  • Francis Crowley: "You sons of bitches. Give my love to Mother."
  • Leon Czolgosz, assassin of President William McKinley: "I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people—the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime. I am sorry I could not see my father."
  • Georges Danton, prior to execution by guillotine: "Tu montreras ma tête au peuple. Elle en vaut la peine." ("Show my head to the people. It is worth seeing.")
  • Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, before being burned at the stake: "Pope Clement, Chevalier Guillaume de Nogaret, King Philip! I summon you to the Tribunal of Heaven before the year is out!"
  • Charles Deen: "Goodbye, gentlemen, I am going now."
  • Edgar Edwards: (To the chaplain, on the way to the scaffold) "I've been looking forward to this a lot!"
  • Edward Ellis: "I just want everybody to know that I think the prosecutor and Bill Scott [a fellow inmate who testified against Ellis] are some sorry s.o.bs."
  • George Engel: "Hurrah for anarchy!"
  • Mona Fandey: "Aku tak akan mati." ("I will never die.")
  • Thomas de Mahy, marquis de Favras, upon reading his death warrant: "I see that you have made three spelling mistakes."
  • Adolph Fischer: "This is the happiest moment of my life!"
  • Murderer James French (asked if he had any last words before his death by electric chair): "Everything's already been said."
  • John Wayne Gacy: "Kiss my ass."
  • Johnny Garrett: "I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me, and the rest of the world can kiss my ass."
  • Kenneth Edward Gentry: "Thank the Lord for the past 14 years that have allowed me to grow as a man. To J.D.’s family, I am sorry for the suffering you have gone through the past 14 years. I hope you can get some peace tonight. To my family, I am happy to be going home to Jesus. Sweet Jesus, here I come. Take me home. I am going your way."
  • Gary Gilmore: "Let's do it!", before being executed by firing squad. Gilmore is also oft-quoted as saying a few minutes earlier, as he walked past the Hi-Fi Murderers on his way to be executed was: "Adios, Pierre and Andrews. I'll be seeing you directly."
  • Thomas J. Grasso: "I did not get my Spaghetti-Os. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."
  • G.W. Green: (Echoing Gary Gilmore) "Lock and load. Let's do it, man."
  • Roosevelt Green: "I am about to die for a murder I did not commit, that someone else committed ... I love the Lord, and I hope that you all love him too and that God takes me into his kingdom, and goodbye, [M]other."
  • Irma Grese: "Schnell." (translated as "Quick" and glossed idiomatically as "Make it quick" or "Get it over with.")
  • Adolf Eichmann: "Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected and which I will not forget. I greet my wife, my family and my friends. I am ready. We'll meet again soon, as is the fate of all men. I die believing in God."
  • Charles J. Guiteau, assassin of President James A. Garfield, at the conclusion of reading his poem "I am Going to the Lordy" prior to his hanging: "Glory hallelujah! I am with the Lord, Glory, ready, go!"
  • Donald Harding: Declined to make a final statement, but signaled the executioner to get started. His asphyxiation in the gas chamber took 11 minutes before death was finally confirmed, and Harding spent his last moments cursing Arizona's state attorney general Grant Woods and giving him the middle finger.
  • Mata Hari: "It is unbelievable".
  • Robert Alton Harris: "You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the grim reaper." (This is a misquotation of a line in the 1991 film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, which was in turn a paraphrase of the German danse macabre caption Wer war der Thor, wer der Weiser, wer der Bettler oder Kaiser? Ob arm, ob reich, im Tode gleich ("Who was the fool; who [was] the sage; who [was] the beggar or [the] Emperor? Whether rich or poor, in death [all are] equal.").
  • Joe Hill: When on November 19, 1915, Deputy Shettler, who led Joe Hill's firing squad, called out the sequence of commands preparatory to firing ("Ready, aim,") Joe Hill shouted, "Fire -- go on and fire!" Just prior to his execution, Hill had written to Bill Haywood, an IWW leader, saying, "Goodbye Bill. I die like a true blue rebel. Don't waste any time in mourning. Organize... Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don't want to be found dead in Utah."
  • Daryl Holton: "Two words, I do."
  • Mark Hopkinson: "You let the whole damn world and all those news people know that Mark Hopkinson was strong and tight to the last. Help me do this, warden."
  • John Huss: "O, holy simplicity!"
  • Saddam Hussein recited the Shahada as he was executed, dying as he said "and Muhammad".
  • Joan of Arc, while she was burning at the stake: "Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames!"
  • Edward Earl Johnson: "I guess no one's going to call."
  • Mohammad Jawad al Jaza’iri: "But we coped with the sadness, and we wait for death from one moment to the next."
  • Habibullāh Kalakāni: "I have nothing to ask God, he has given me everything I desired. God has made me King."
  • Wilhelm Keitel, after being sentenced to death for his role in the crimes of Nazi Germany, shouted "Deutschland über alles!"
  • Ned Kelly: Allegedly, "Such is life."
  • Louis XVI, king of France, speaking to his executioners: "Messieurs, je suis innocent de tout ce dont on m'inculpe. Je souhaite que mon sang que vous allez répandre ne retombe jamais sur la France." ("Gentlemen, I am innocent of everything of which I am accused. I hope that my blood may cement the good fortune of the French.")
  • Marie Antoinette, queen of France, apologizing to her executioner for stepping on his foot: "Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l'ai pas fait exprès." ("Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.")
  • Timothy McVeigh: Convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing, McVeigh chose "Invictus" (Latin for "unconquered"), an 1875 poem by the British poet William Ernest Henley, as the final statement prior to his execution.
  • James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, to Jack Ketch, his executioner: "Do not hack me as you did my Lord Russell."
  • Harry Morant, to his firing squad: "Shoot straight, you bastards. Don't make a mess of it!"
  • Ronald Clark O'Bryan: "What is about to transpire in a few moments is wrong! However, we as human beings do make mistakes and errors. This execution is one of those wrongs yet doesn’t mean our whole system of justice is wrong. Therefore, I would forgive all who have taken part in any way in my death. Also, to anyone I have offended in any way during my 39 years, I pray and ask your forgiveness, just as I forgive anyone who offended me in any way. And I pray and ask God’s forgiveness for all of us respectively as human beings. To my loved ones, I extend my undying love. To those close to me, know in your hearts I love you one and all. God bless you all and may God’s best blessings be always yours. Ronald C. O’Bryan. P.S. During my time here, I have been treated well by all T.D.C. personnel."
  • Saint John Ogilvie was hanged, drawn and quartered at Glasgow Cross on 10 March 1615, because of having preached the Catholic religion, then illegal in Scotland, and for refusing to pledge allegiance to King James. Ogilvie's last words were: "If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me, but the prayers of heretics I will not have."
  • At his public execution, the murderer William Palmer is said to have looked at the trapdoor on the gallows and asked the hangman, "Are you sure it's safe?"
  • Albert Parsons: "Will I be allowed to speak, O men of America? Let me speak, Sheriff Matson! Let the voice of the people be heard! O—" (interrupted by opening of gallows trapdoor)
  • Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster on 29 October 1618. "Let us dispatch", he said to his executioner. "At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear." After he was allowed to see the axe that would behead him, he mused: "This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries." According to many biographers – Raleigh Trevelyan, in his book Sir Walter Raleigh (2002), for instance – Sir Walter's final words (as he lay ready for the axe to fall) were: "Strike, man, strike!"
  • James W. Rodgers: (Facing a firing squad) "I done told you my last request ... a bulletproof vest."
  • Madame Roland: "O Liberté, que de crimes on commet en ton nom!" ("Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!")
  • Ronald Ryan: (To the hangman) "God bless you, please make it quick."
  • John William Rook: "Freedom. Freedom at last, man."
  • Nicola Sacco: "Farewell, mother!"
  • Bartolomeo Vanzetti: "I wish to forgive some people for what they are now doing to me."
  • Socrates, just before his death by ingestion of poison hemlock which he was forced to drink as a death sentence: "Κρίτων, ἔφη, τῷ Ἀσκληπιῷ ὀφείλομεν ἀλεκτρυόνα· ἀλλὰ ἀπόδοτε καὶ μὴ ἀμελήσητε" ("Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt.")
  • John Spenkelink: "Capital punishment; them without the capital get the punishment."
  • Mary Surratt: "Please don't let me fall."
  • Elisabeth von Thadden, before her execution by the Nazi regime: "Setzen Sie ein Ende, o Gott, für alle unsere Leiden." ("Put an end, Lord, to all our sufferings.")
  • John Thanos: "Adios."
  • Karla Faye Tucker: "Yes sir, I would like to say to all of you-the Thornton Family and Jerry Dean's family that I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this. Baby, I love you. Ron, give Peggy a hug for me. Everybody has been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I am going to be face to face with Jesus now. Warden Baggett, thank all of you so much. You have been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you."
  • William Tyndale, before being strangled and burned at the stake: "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."
  • Henry Wirz, referring to his noose: "This is too tight."
  • Aileen Wuornos: "Yes, I would just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back, like Independence Day, with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I'll be back, I'll be back."

See also

Further reading

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article "List of last words", released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.