Weird 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
Photo: patrickhashley/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

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

#31 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#3 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

#5 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

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

#6 on The Best American Founding Fathers

#74 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

#51 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#27 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#2 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#65 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
Photo: John Vanderlyn/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

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

#4 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

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

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

#5 on The Best American Founding Fathers

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