history How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died

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The death of a president is always a big deal, whether it is unexpected - such as John F. Kennedy's assassination - or predictable, like Ronald Reagan's death after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for ten years. While former presidents always get the full memorial Monty, the death of a sitting president can cause political upheaval as the successor takes the reigns. But just how many US presidents have died? Sure, you probably have a rough idea, but do you know the circumstances of their deaths and the legacy they left behind? 

Looking to the past is crucial to understanding the present. And knowing how all the US presidents died - especially the ones that died in office - can shed some light on our current political situation. In total, 38 US presidents have passed on. Keep reading to learn about all the US president deaths that have happened since the inception of our country.


George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
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George Washington died at the age of 67 on December 14, 1799, in Mount Vernon, VA. His exact cause of death is still a mystery, but it was likely epiglottitis. Shortly before his death, Washington presented his wife with two wills, instructing her to burn one and execute the other.

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Birthplace: Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories Westmoreland County, + more

Date Born: 1732

Presidency: 1

V.P.: John Adams

Also Ranked

#1 on The Most Important Military Leaders In US History

#43 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#2 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#8 on The Most Beloved US Veterans

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John Adams is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
Photo: Cliff/Flickr

John Adams died at the age of 90 on July 4, 1826, of heart failure in Quincy, MA. It was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. His last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” a reference to his successor, a former adversary who had become a close friend. At that time, he was not aware of the fact that Jefferson had died a few hours earlier.

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Birthplace: Eastern United States, Braintree, New England, Norfolk County United States of America, + more

Date Born: 1735

Presidency: 2

V.P.: Thomas Jefferson

Also Ranked

#4 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#12 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#6 on The Best American Founding Fathers

#73 on The Most Important Leaders in World History

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Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Thomas Jefferson died at the age of 83 on July 4, 1826, in Charlottesville, VA. Jefferson was suffering greatly at the end, though we only know for sure about his collection of symptoms, not his exact diagnosis. He was having trouble urinating, had severe diarrhea, kidney damage, and a kidney infection. It's possible that all these things simply overwhelmed his body's ability to fight off disease, but some speculate that it was actually prostate cancer that caused his death. He died with $100,000 in debt.

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Birthplace: Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories Albemarle County, + more

Date Born: 1743

Presidency: 3

V.P.: Aaron Burr, George Clinton

Also Ranked

#57 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#36 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#3 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#64 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

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James Madison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
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James Madison died at the age of 85 on June 28, 1836, from heart failure in Orange, VA. After his death, a statement he had written two years previously was made public, saying “the advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated.”

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Birthplace: Port Conway, Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States with Territories, + more

Date Born: 1751

Presidency: 4

V.P.: Elbridge Gerry, George Clinton

Also Ranked

#5 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#3 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#5 on The Best American Founding Fathers

#5 on The Most Important Leaders in World History

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James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
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James Monroe died at age 73 on July 4, 1831, of tuberculosis in New York City, the third president to die on Independence Day. Initially buried in a family plot in New York City, his body was moved 27 years later to the President's Circle at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA.  Abraham Lincoln, then a first-term congressman, assisted in the funeral arrangements. 

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Birthplace: Monroe Hall, Virginia, United States of America, United States with Territories, + more

Date Born: 1758

Presidency: 5

V.P.: Daniel D. Tompkins

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#11 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#26 on The Most Important Leaders in World History

#13 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#5 on The Best Two-Term U.S. Presidents

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John Quincy Adams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
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John Quincy Adams died at age 80 on February 23, 1848, of a stroke in Washington, D.C. After his defeat in the 1828 presidential election, Adams served in the US House of Representatives. He suffered a stroke in the Capitol Building immediately after casting a vote against honoring US soldiers who served in the Mexican-American War.  

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Birthplace: Eastern United States, Braintree, New England, Norfolk County United States of America, + more

Date Born: 1767

Presidency: 6

V.P.: John C. Calhoun

Also Ranked

#79 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#24 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#3 on The Best One-Term U.S. Presidents

#3 on The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

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Andrew Jackson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
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Andrew Jackson died at the age of 78 on June 8, 1845, of tuberculosis in Nashville, TN. He was never the picture of good health; a musket ball that was never removed from his lung wreaked havoc on his body, causing a near-constant and severe cough, debilitating headaches, and abdominal pains. It's a wonder he even made it to 78.

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Birthplace: Waxhaws

Date Born: 1767

Presidency: 7

V.P.: Martin Van Buren, John C. Calhoun

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#12 on The Most Important Military Leaders In US History

#21 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#19 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#9 on The Best Two-Term U.S. Presidents

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Martin Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list How All the Departed US Presidents Have Died
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Martin Van Buren died at the age of 79 on July 24, 1862, of heart failure in Kinderhook, NY. His health had been declining for a year. Shortly before his death, he discussed a plan for all the then-living ex-presidents to negotiate a solution that would prevent the Civil War, but the committee was never formed. 

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Birthplace: Kinderhook, Columbia County, Contiguous United States, New York United States of America, + more

Date Born: 1782

Presidency: 8

V.P.: Richard Mentor Johnson

Also Ranked

#97 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#61 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#9 on The Best One-Term U.S. Presidents

#23 on The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

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