No one likes to ponder their mortality too much, but we can take comfort in knowing that many people manage to maintain their sense of personality, pride, and even humor right up until they draw their last breath.
When someone with a modicum of fame passes away, their final words are often recorded and examined for any insight that might be gleaned from those who pass away before us. Here are 20 historical figures who couldn’t resist the opportunity to leave the world with memorable, and in some cases, downright hilarious, last words.
1. “I am not the least afraid to die.” — Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin was a naturalist and biologist known for his theory of evolution and the process of natural selection.
2. “This wallpaper is dreadful, one of us will have to go.” — Oscar Wilde
The Irish poet and playwright was known for his quips, so naturally he went out with a laugh.
3. “I’ve always loved my wife and my children and my grandchildren. I’ve always loved my country. I want to go. God, take me.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
This American Army General and statesman served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
4. “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” — Leonardo da Vinci
He may have created some of the most famous works of art in history, but he clearly never lived up to his own expectations.
5. “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” — Steve Jobs
According to his sister, Mona Simpson, Steve’s tone was “affectionate, dear, loving, but like someone whose luggage was already strapped onto the vehicle, who was already on the beginning of his journey, even as he was sorry, truly deeply sorry, to be leaving us.”
6. “Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal?” –Louis XIV of France
He was one of the most powerful French monarchs, so maybe his subjects did think he was immortal.
7. “I’m losing it.” –Frank Sinatra
Ol’ Blue Eyes kept it simple at the end. Guess you could say he did it his way.
8. “I’m bored with it all.” –Winston S. Churchill
The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was evidently sick of being sick.
9. “I love you very much, my dear Beaver.” –Jean-Paul Sartre
The famous philosopher was said to be speaking to his partner, Simone de Beauvoir. Let’s hope this was an affectionate nickname.
10. “Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” –Nostradamus
This is one prediction that was 100% accurate.
11. “Swing low, sweet chariot.” –Harriet Tubman
As she was dying, Harriet and her family sang hymns on her death bed.
12. “This dying is boring.” –Richard Feynman
Like Winston Churchill before him, this famous physicist, author, musician, professor, and traveler was ready to get on with this dying business.
13. “Bring me a bullet-proof vest.” –James W. Rodgers
Rodgers a convicted murder and was about to be put in front of a firing squad when they asked if he had any last requests.
14. “You are wonderful.” –Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The man who wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories turned to his wife and told her she was wonderful before dying on the spot.
15. “Damn the whole friggin’ world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta.” –W.C. Fields
Actor and comedian W.C. Fields spoke his final misanthropic words to his longtime mistress, Carlotta Monti.
16. “This is no way to live!” — Groucho Marx
Even as he lay dying, Groucho couldn’t resist one last joke.
17. “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.” –Alfred Hitchcock
A true storyteller to the end.
18. “I must go in, for the fog is rising.” — Emily Dickinson
Even her last words were poetic.
19. “You’re right. It’s time. I love you all.” — Michael Landon
The “Little House on the Prairie” and “Highway to Heaven” actor said this to his family. His son had told him it was time to move on.
20. “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!” –Karl Marx
That’s just your opinion, Mr. Marx!
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