Strange Things

Learn the Last Words of These Famous People

Famous people have always fascinated us. Even their last words have managed to catch our curiosity and imagination. The words that these famous people uttered from their deathbeds (or somewhere else) can sometimes shed light on their character and the circumstances of their demise. You cannot help feeling that their last words on this list may sum up their personality. Some of the final words are ironically funny, while others come out poignant and very deep.
 white mug on wooden table

And those unfinished sentences before these famous people took their last breath will always leave us mystified or leave open for some debate.

Check out some of the last words of these famous people and find out whether you know any of them.

1) Archimedes (c. 287 B.C. – c. 212 B.C.), Greek mathematician

Archimedes was summarily executed by a soldier after refusing to turn away from his math problem

“Don’t disturb my circles!”

Archimedes was killed during the Second Punic War. The historian, Plutarch, wrote that a soldier came up and interrupted his geometric experiments, telling him to go with him to General Marcus Claudius Marcellus.

2) Rafael (1483 – 1520) Italian Renaissance painter and architect

Self-portrait of Raphael, aged approximately 23

“Happy…”

According to a letter written by Raphael’s friend, Cardinal Bibbiena, Raphael woke up, looked around, and asked, “Whence comes the sunshine?” He seemed not to hear what his friends had said when they spoke to him, and then said, “Happy…” but he passed away before finishing his sentence.

3) Nostradamus (1503 – 1566), French astrologer, physician and seer

 Portrait of Michel de Nostredame

“Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here,” correctly predicting his death.

Since some of the last words may not have been properly recorded and written down, they may not be quoted accurately or correctly. Some sources quote Nostradamus differently, such as, “You will not find me alive at sunrise.”

4) Benjamin Franklin (1705 – 1790), one of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States

Benjamin Franklin

“A dying man can do nothing easy.”

As Franklin was lay dying, he was told by his daughter to change position in bed so that he could breathe more easily.

5) Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827), German composer and pianist

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820

“Pity, pity – too late!”

There may have been other suggestions as to the last words from Beethoven, who had become deaf towards the end of his life. But these very final words, which Beethoven uttered in dismay when a publisher brought him 12 bottles of wine, appear to be the most famous.

6) Karl Marx (1818 – 1863), German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, political theorist, journalist, and socialist revolutionary

Karl Marx

“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”

This was Marx’s response to his housekeeper who asked him about his last words.

7) Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911), Austrian composer and condcutor

Gustav Mahler, 1907

“Mozart!”

Mahler, regarded as one of the leading conductors of his generation, was in his deathbed when he was “conducting” an imaginary orchestra.

8) Alexander Graham Bell, (1847 – 1922), Scottish-American scientist, engineer, and inventor

Alexander Graham Bell

“No.”

It was his response to the pleas from his wife, Mabel Gardiner Hubbard (Mabel Bell): “Don’t leave me.”

9) Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931), American inventor

Thomas Edison

“It’s very beautiful over there.”

Right before he died, Edison woke up from a coma. He opened his eyes and reportedly uttered these words to his wife. He was most likely referring to a view outside his window.

10) Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961), American author and journalist

Hemingway working on his book For Whom the Bell Tolls at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, in December 1939

“Goodnight, my kitten.”

These are the words that Hemingway told to his wife Mary, before committing suicide with a shotgun.

11) John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963), 35th President of the United States

John F. Kenned in the Oval Office

“No, you certainly can’t.”

Kennedy uttered what was to be his last words as a reply to his co-passenger, the first lady of Texas Nellie Connally, while traveling through Dallas in a motorcade. It was just seconds before he was fatally shot.

12) Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980), English director and producer

Studio publicity photo of Alfred Hitchcock

“One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes,” referring to the afterlife.

13) John Lennon (1940 – 1980), English singer-songwriter, musician, artist, and former member of The Beatles

Lennon autographing a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman, six hours before his death

“I’m shot! I’m shot!”

These were John Lennon’s last words moments after being fatally shot by a fan, Mark David Chapman.

14) Bob Marley (1945 – 1981), Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician

Marley in concert in 1980, Zurich, Switzerland

“Money can’t buy life,” were his last words to his son, Ziggy.

15) Diana (1961 – 1997), Princess of Wales

Diana smiling

“My God! What’s happened?”

These were the final words Diana uttered short after dying in a car accident.

16) Bob Hope (1903 – 2003), British-American comedian, actor, vaudevillian, singer and dancer

 Bob Hope

“Surprise me.”

His last words were a reply to his wife’s Dolores’s question as to where he wanted to be buried.

17) James Brown (1933 – 2006), American singer-songwriter, dancer, musician, and record producer

James Brown in Hamburg, Germany, 1973

“I’m going away tonight.”

These were his last words to his manager Charles Bobbit, before falling asleep. He never woke up again.

18) Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009), American singer, songwriter and dancer.

Michael Jackson on stage, singing, in Vienna, Austria

“Let me have some milk.”

Jackson requested to his doctor for more propofol (a sedative-hypnotic drug). He was given an injection of it, which led to his death.

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