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10 People Who Literally Died Laughing

Can you die laughing? Like, literally? Yes and no. Laughter can bring about cataplexy (where you're conscious but can't move) or syncope (fainting), as Gizmodo points out, and people with heart conditions can laugh heartily and put too much "stress" on their tickers. So laughter can, in certain cases, make your heart fail or put your body in harm's way. Strictly speaking, laughter isn't the cause of death, but in those cases, laughing is definitely a contributing factor. 

The demographics of people who died laughing throughout history vary wildly. You can be young, old, healthy, sick, starving, or stuffed to the gills with goose (check out King Martin's story below). Sometimes it's a joke you told that does you in; sometimes it's a silly character in a play that literally slays you. There are also cases where the truth behind the fatal laughter is obscured through slander and the fog of time (see Pietro Aretino's bizarre demise). Read on for 10 (or maybe 9.5?) examples of people that literally laughed until they died.

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