Lost Legends: 45 Harrowing Facts about the Tragic Demises of Famous Individuals

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26Pope John XII

Pope John XII

Pope John XII was the only Pope who was ever beaten to death by a jealous husband for sleeping with his wife. He was also accused of turning the papal palace into a brothel, sleeping with his niece, toasting the devil, ordaining a 10-year-old boy, and misusing papal funds to pay gambling debts.

27. In 1924, a Russian scientist named Alexander Bogdanov started blood transfusion experiments, hoping to achieve eternal youth. After 11 blood transfusions, he claimed he had improved his eyesight and stopped balding. He died after a transfusion with a student suffering from malaria and Tuberculosis (The student fully recovered).

28. Jermaine Fuller, the singer of Peanut Butter Jelly Time died in an 11-hour police standoff during which time his brother-in-law Snoop Dogg attempted to calm him down and surrender.

29. George Washington died when his doctors tried to cure his epiglottitis (i.e. inflamed throat) with bloodletting. He lost more than half his blood before they stopped the treatment, and died just hours later.

30. When William the Conqueror died his funeral was delayed for several days. By the time they laid him to rest his body was too bloated from decay to fit in his tomb. They tried to force it in and he exploded.

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31PFC LaVena Johnson

PFC LaVena Johnson

PFC LaVena Johnson was found dead in 2005 at a base in Balad, Iraq. Initially ruled a suicide, an autopsy revealed she had a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, and burns from corrosive chemicals on her genitals. The Army has refused to reopen the case.

32. Queen Elizabeth's grandfather, King George V, was euthanized by his physician. The physician wrote in his journal that he euthanized the King so that his death would be announced in the morning newspapers, rather than the "less appropriate evening journals."

33. A 19-year-old wrestler died after losing 9 pounds in 8.5 hours by exercising vigorously in a hot environment wearing a vapor-impermeable suit under a cotton warm-up suit. He resumed exercising 2 hours after the weight loss and died from cardiac arrest an hour later.

34. Elvis Presley died while trying to poop in his toilet: he had an enlarged colon, which makes this activity harder. Due to rigor mortis, his body was found still in the seating position, but fallen forward on the floor, head down.

35. Singer Kirsty MacColl died a hero. While in Mexico, a speedboat was heading right at her and her son. She managed to push her 15-year-old son out of the way just in time but was run over in the process. She was killed instantly.

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36Shanice Clark

Shanice Clark

In 2015, a basketball player named Shanice Clark was found dead in her bed, the cause of death was ruled to be falling asleep with gum in her mouth and breathing it into her lungs.

37. Shortly after English comedian Benny Hill died in 1992, grave-robbers dug up his grave under the mistaken belief that he was buried with copious amounts of gold and jewelry. He was re-buried with a 1-foot thick slab of concrete on top to prevent future disturbances.

38. When legendary drag performer Dorian Corey died, in her belongings they found a preserved body with a gunshot to the head, that she had kept for around 15 years.

39. In 20 A.D., Claudius Drusus died while playing. He threw a pear up into the air, and when it came back down, he caught it in his mouth, but he choked on it, and died of asphyxiation.

40. Attila the Hun died of a nosebleed. On his wedding night, he drank heavily and passed out in his bed. He then had a severe nosebleed and choked to death on his own blood.

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41Vitas Gerulaitis

Vitas Gerulaitis

Tennis player Vitas Gerulaitis died at the age of 40, while visiting a friend's home in Southampton, New York. An improperly installed pool heater caused carbon monoxide gas to seep into the guesthouse where he was sleeping, causing his death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

42. American singer John Denver's death was caused by his inability to switch fuel tanks during flight. The selector valve handle should have been located between the pilot's legs, but the builder put it behind the pilot's left shoulder. The fuel gauge was behind the pilot, not visible to him.

43. In 2019, 5 teenagers died after a fire in escape rooms in Poland. Poland’s interior minister then ordered fire safety inspections at more than 1,000 escape room locations across the country. Previously, there was no official requirement for fire safety certificates at such locations.

44. In February 2020, three people died of carbon dioxide suffocation and drowning when 25 kilograms of dry ice were thrown into an indoor swimming pool at a sauna party in Moscow to create a layer of thick white fog over the surface which inadvertently displaced oxygen.

45. In 2020, a 54-year-old man from Massachusetts, USA, died after eating a bag and a half of black licorice every day for a few weeks, which caused such low potassium levels that his heart stopped.

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