The Stories Behind the Deaths of 39 US Presidents – 24/7 Wall St.
“If they kill me,” Abraham Lincoln once said, “I’ll never die again”. They killed him, of course, and if he died a second time, history doesn’t record it.
Lincoln, as we all know, was assassinated while in office. The same was true of three other presidents – James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John. F. Kennedy.
Unsuccessful attempts have also been made on the life of Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. It is clear that running the country is a dangerous task. (This is how historians have classified every American president.)
The demands of the job can also be hazardous to presidential health. Several presidents, including Chester A. Arthur and Woodrow Wilson, have decided not to run for an additional term due to their poor health.
And at least 18 presidents over the years have died of heart failure or stroke, conditions that could perhaps be related at least in part to office stress. The youngest president to die in office, besides several murder victims, was James K. Polk, who died of cholera at the age of 53. (Can you solve these real “Jeopardy” clues about US presidents?)
Click here to see how 39 US presidents died.
On the other hand, six presidents have clearly done something right, existing in their tenth decade: John Adams and Herbert Hoover, who turned 90; Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, deceased at 93; George HW Bush, who lasted to 94 – and Jimmy Carter, who is still alive at the age of 96.
24/7 Tempo has put together a list of our 39 deceased presidents, with notes on what killed them and, if applicable, what they said before they died.
To identify the deaths of 39 presidents, 24/7 Tempo compiled research from various biographical resources, as well as obituaries in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Information on the last words spoken by the presidents was taken from the same sources and from the Free Library in Philadelphia.