Famous people and their unusual deaths

Tycho Brahe was an astronomer, astrologer, and alchemist of the 16th century. His observations on mapping the night sky were pivotal in allowing future astronomers to accurately understand our planet’s place in the cosmos.

Brahe died in 1601 because of his manners. He was attending a banquet in Prague and refused to leave the table to relieve himself as it would have been a breach of etiquette. He hurried home afterward and experienced excruciating pain when he urinated. He died eleven days later of a bladder ailment. Eduard Ender/Wikimedia Commons

Henry I ruled England from 1100 till his death, 35 years later. He is thought of as a harsh but competent king who fought off multiple invasions and rebellions.

When Henry I was on a hunting trip in Normandy in 1135, he ate a number of lamprey eels, against the warnings of his doctor, and fell ill. Henry died shortly after. British Library/Wikimedia Commons

Chrysippus was a Stoic philosopher in Ancient Greece whose writings on logic, physics, and ethics are still taught to this day.

According to Diogenes Laërtius, an ancient biographer of Greek philosophers, Chrysippus died in a fit of laughter in 206 BCE when saw a drunken donkey attempting to eat some figs Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

Sir Francis Bacon was a 16th-century scientist, philosopher, and statesman who popularized ideas like the codification of common law and the scientific method that would gain immense import in the Enlightenment Era that followed his death.

In 1626, Bacon was traveling through the snow to Highgate, where he was inspired to discover whether or not snow could preserve meat. He left his coach and went to the house of a local woman, where he purchased a chicken from her and stuffed its carcass with snow. The long period Bacon spent outside damaged his immune system, and he died from pneumonia three days later. John Vanderbank/Wikimedia Commons

Aeschylus was an Ancient Greek playwright who is known as the “father of tragedy.” He is believed to be the first dramatist to format his plays in trilogies and created some of the most influential stage performances of Ancient Greece.

According to the Roman historian Valerius Maximus, Aeschylus died when a Sicilian eagle picked up a tortoise in its claws and thinking Aeschylus’ bald head was round rock that he could use to shatter the animal’s hard shell, dropped the tortoise onto Aeschylus’ head and killed him. Alexisrael/Wikimedia Commons

Adolf Frederick was the king of Sweden in the mid-1700s. He was installed by a political faction due to his close relationship with the Empress of Russia, to improve the conditions of a drafted peace treaty between Sweden and Russia at the time.

In 1771, Frederick died of overeating when he ate an enormous meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, kippers, and champagne, as well as 14 servings of sweet rolls in a bowl of hot cream. Wikimedia Commons

Sherwood Anderson was a prominent American short-story writer and novelist from the 1920s to the 1940s.

When Anderson was 64, he accidentally swallowed a toothpick while drinking a martini on a cruise. He died in 1941 when the toothpick damaged his internal organs and caused an infection in his stomach. Pirie MacDonald/Library of Congress

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