• Death

Famous Suicide Notes That Could've Been Tweeted

In Hamlet, Shakespeare told us "brevity is the soul of wit," but he probably wasn't talking about Sad Keanu memes on Twitter - the social media juggernaut with a character limit of 140. Every day, users around the world tear their hair out in an effort to share their latest Tweet with an economy of letters, numbers, and symbols. These famously brief suicide notes condensed the writers’ last words in 140 meager characters or less. Most were written well before the dawn of social media, but in terms of word count, they could pass modern-day muster. 

  • Inventor George Eastman

    "To my friends, my work is done - Why wait?"  

    Noted entrepreneur, inventor, and philanthropist George Eastman of the Eastman-Kodak Company gave a lot to the world before he passed. His experiments with 35mm roll film helped popularize photography in the late 1800s and led to the invention of motion pictures. He was also responsible for perfecting the first Kodak camera.

    At age 77, Eastman suffered from chronic pain due to a spinal condition. On March 14, 1932, after a reportedly jovial meeting with friends, he excused himself to write a brief letter before he shot himself.

  • John Thomas Doyle

    "Absolutely no reason except I have a toothache."

    San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge has become known over the years as much for its high suicide rate as its architectural grandeur. Not much is known about 49-year-old jumper John Thomas Doyle other than the brief explanation he left behind in his November 1954 suicide note. 

  • Novelist Jerzy Kosinski

    "I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity." 

    Polish émigré Jerzy Kosinski was known as one of the great writers of the 20th century. He turned his traumas of escaping the Holocaust into controversial novels including The Painted Bird, Steps, and Being There. He suffered from multiple medical conditions and serious depression, and the author also faced allegations of plagiarism.

    On May 3, 1991, he penned a brief note before he reportedly ingested drugs and alcohol and stepped into his full bathtub. 

  • American Singer-Songwriter Elliott Smith

    Photo: constintina / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    "I'm so sorry - love, Elliott. God forgive me."  

    Singer Elliott Smith was a shining talent on the '90s alt-rock music scene. His confessional lyrics often referenced his troubles with alcoholism, drug dependency, and depression. On October 21, 2003, a 911 call was made from his Echo Park home in Los Angeles where he lived with his then-girlfriend. According to her reports, the two had been arguing before she left to take a shower. Smith was rushed to the hospital with two stab wounds in his chest, reportedly self-inflicted, and died there at age 34.

    A possible suicide note was later found, although there was some controversy as to whether the singer left the note since his name was reportedly misspelled in the coroner's report, leaving out the last "t."