Weird History

Famous Poisoning Deaths

The list of famous people who died of poisoning includes all the notable people who met their end at the hands of a poison. Death due to poison could not be detected in earlier ages, and so was the most popular method used to kill people, resulting in many famous poisoning cases. Only in the recent past, has the cause of death by poison been detectable through autopsy.

This list features food poisoning deaths, as well as cases of suicide by poisoning. There's death by hemlock, as in the case of Socrates. Some of the most famous poisons were used time and time again throughout history. You'll start to recognize the poison names, such as cyanide or ricin. 

What famous people were poisoned to death? Did you know, in the previous centuries, most poison victims died of arsenic poisoning? These famous poisonings are the stuff of legends and have happened throughout history.

From cyanide poisonings to other methods, here is a list of all famous people who were poisoned and killed. Read more about famous poisoning victims below.

  • Alan Turing
    • Birthplace: Maida Vale, London, United Kingdom

    Alan Turing reportedly completed suicide by injecting an apple with cyanide and taking a bite.

  • Adolf Hitler
    • Birthplace: Braunau am Inn, Austria

    Adolf Hitler used cyanide and a gunshot simultaneously, to avoid capture.

  • Cleopatra
    • Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt

    She poisoned herself with an asp's bite.

  • According to Plato, he was sentenced to kill himself by drinking poison hemlock.

    • Birthplace: Spur, Texas

    Used barbiturates and alcohol, before placing a bag over his head, along with the rest of his cult members of Heaven's Gate.

  • She bit into a cyanide capsule rather than be captured.

  • Olive Thomas
    • Birthplace: USA, Charleroi, Pennsylvania

    She was a silent film actress, who accidentally ingested a large dose of mercury bichloride.

    • Birthplace: Munich, Germany

    Himmler completed suicide by taking poison after being captured by Western Allies.

  • Hermann Göring

    Hermann Göring

    • Birthplace: Rosenheim, Germany

    He completed suicide by cyanide capsule, long after being captured and only hours before his hanging was to take place.

  • Historians believe he was killed when an arrow poisoned with the sap of the manchineel tree struck his thigh.

  • Erwin Rommel
    • Birthplace: Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany

    When faced with a public trial for treason, or cyanide, Rommel chose the latter.

  • Ibn al-Khattab
    • Birthplace: Saudi Arabia

    A Sunni Jihadi fighter, he died from a poisoned letter sent by Russian FSB agency.

  • Ali ibn Abi Talib

    Ali ibn Abi Talib

    599 AD-03-17
    • Birthplace: Kaaba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

    While praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, Ali was attacked by the Kharijite Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, and wounded by ibn Muljam's poison-coated sword.

  • Demosthenes
    • Birthplace: Athens, Greece

    He committed suicide before his capture by taking poison out of a reed, pretending he wanted to write a letter to his family.

    • Birthplace: Russia, Voronezh

    Russian ex-spy and investigator, Litvinenko died three weeks after being poisoned by radioactive polonium-210.

    • Birthplace: Florence, Italy

    In accordance with the custom of the times, people attributed his death to poison, specifically from the death cap mushroom.

  • Georgi Markov
    • Birthplace: Bulgaria

    A Bulgarian dissident; Markov was ssassinated in London with ricin.

    • Birthplace: Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria

    Charles VI ate poisonous mushrooms.

  • Stepan Bandera
    • Birthplace: Staryi Uhryniv

    Bandera was poisoned by a cyanide capsule shot from a gun by KGB agents.

  • Odilo Globocnik
    • Birthplace: Eurasia, Italy, Trieste, Province of Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

    After he was arrested, but before he stood trial, he bit down on a cyanide capsule.

  • Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz

    Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz

    One of his servants had been bribed to poison his food.

  • Musa al-Kadhim
    • Birthplace: Medina, Saudi Arabia

    His cause of death was said to be poisoning by Harun al-Rashid, according to most Shi'a Muslims.

  • He was said to have been cast into prison and poisoned to death.

    • Mistress of King James IV of Scotland, she was said to have died of food poisoning in 1501, along with her sisters. 

      • It was rumoured that he had been poisoned in Antioch by pills given to him by his Syrian Orthodox doctor..