Most Ironic Deaths In History

Posted by By flapjack at 1 March, at 05 : 09 AM Print


Death is a normal part of life. While most people die with predictable reasons, some people die rather ironic deaths. The world has seen numerous deaths in which the universe seemed to have conspired with fates to make an ironic statement. Some of these deaths include historical figures, royalties, celebrities and inventors. Remembering these various accounts of ironic deaths never fail to bring an eerie kind of sense.

Hans Steininger


Hans Steininger is known in the history books as the man with the longest beard (4.5 feet). Artists have fondly sketched his glorious expression of facial hair and even immortalized his crowning achievement in stone. However, his hairy asset is what brought him to sudden death. As he was caught in a fire, he accidentally tripped over his long beard, broke his neck and died.

Marcus Licinius Crassus


Marcus Licinius Crassus was a well known general. He was also a very wealthy man- wealthy enough to fund armies and invasions. However, his defeat with the Parthians ended his glory. The Parthians punished him for his greed by pouring molten gold down his throat.

Bobby Leach


In more recent centuries, Bobby Leach was a world-renowned daredevil. He was known to history as the first person to successfully navigate the Niagara Falls (1911). In his lifetime, Leach survived broken knee caps and jaw. A fateful tripping accident caused by a banana peel fractured his leg. He eventually died of gangrene.

Franz Reichelt


Franz Reichelt, an Austrian tailor famous for his overcoat and parachute hybrid, tested his invention by jumping from the first deck of the Eiffel Towel. In front of spectators and media crews, the world witnessed his death as he fell straight down.

Otto Lilienthal


Another glider by the name of Otto Lilienthal, one of the pioneers in human aviation, died in his last aerial glide in August 9, 1896 as he fell 17 meters and broke his spine.

Thomas Midgley Jr


The American chemist Thomas Midgley Jr. was the inventor of leaded petrol and CFC. Needless to say, his inventions caused millions of deaths in human history as well as severe impacts to the environment. Later on in his life, he contracted lead poisoning and polio, causing him to be disabled and tied to his bed. He then created an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys that allow him to move and adjust his body in his bed. At the age of 55, he was accidentally strangled by his ropes and pulleys.

Marie Curie


Another scientist by the name of Marie Curie, a 1903 Nobel Prize winner for her theory of radioactivity and isolation of isotopes, contracted aplastic anemia due to her prolonged exposure to radiation. The disease eventually killed her.

Jerome Rodale


Jerome Rodale is known as the founder of the organic food revolution. As a naturalist, he promoted clean living. He was a huge advocate of the life-extending benefits of organic lifestyle. At the age of 72, he died of a heart attack after claiming in an interview that he is fit enough to reach his 100th birthday.

Clement Vallandigham


Clement Vallandigham was a lawyer known for his dedication in defending his clients. In 1871, while he was demonstrating during a court case, he accidentally shot himself dead.

Myra Davis


The Psycho double, Myra Davis, died similar death to the character she portrayed in the mega-hit movie. In 1988, she was raped and killed by a “psycho”, re-enacting the famous shower scene that she did in this Alfred Hitchcock classic.

George Story


George Story was featured in the cover page of Life Magazine’s “Life Baby” issue. As a newborn baby, his picture was used in the headline “Life Begins”. The magazine published details of Story’s life, from infancy to old age. A week after the magazine announced the release of its last issue, Story died of heart failure. Hence, the last issue of Life Magazine took the headline “Life Ends”.

Jim Fixx


Jim Fixx, was the writer of the 1977 bestseller “The Complete Book of Running”. He was an advocate of the longevity effects of running and even made a fortune out of his fitness campaigns. One day, Fixx had a fatal heart attack while he was running.

Steve Irwin


Lastly, who would even forget the recent death of Steve Irwin, the eccentric and beloved Australian naturalist that hosted a number of wildly popular TV shows? In his career, he had traveled the globe to unravel an adventure in exploring the animal kingdom. In 2006, while swimming above an adult sting ray, the 8-inch barb of the ray’s tail hit Irwin’s heart, which led to his death.

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22 Comments

  1. Eric, 3 years ago Reply

    No Collin McRae? I would think he would be on the list after all he has done.

  2. PantoSpanto, 3 years ago Reply

    Wow, I never thought about it like that before.

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  3. Frank, 3 years ago Reply

    Actual ironic deaths in this article: 1
    Bobby Leach was the only one whose death was actually ironic. It was ironic that a man who survived so many incredible feats died by slipping on a banana peel. Everyone else’s death was coincidental, unfortunate, inconvenient, predictable, etc. You need to look up the definition of irony.

    Here is an example of how a death would be ironic if the life story had been different:

    Thomas Midgley Jr. He created an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys that saved him from dying. At the age of 55, he was accidentally strangled by his ropes and pulleys.

  4. John Laird, 3 years ago Reply

    The author needs to learn the difference between “ironic,” and “coincidence.”
    HINT: The first example is not ironic. It is coincidence. There is a difference. Until then, I shall point and laugh and laugh at his unintentionally ironic essay.

  5. joe, 3 years ago Reply

    I don’t think you know what irony means

  6. Reder, 3 years ago Reply

    The person that wrote this article doesn’t understand the word irony.

  7. Gabor L, 3 years ago Reply

    One more: Jean-Baptiste Lully, a composer and conductor in the 17th century stabbed his leg with his baton while conducting a Te Deum. The wound became gangrenous and eventually he died two months later.

  8. The Gift of Blogging: The Most Ironic Deaths In History, 3 years ago Reply

    [...] these various accounts of ironic deaths never fail to bring an eerie kind of sense.Source:http://itthing.com/most-ironic-deaths Posted by Mr Gift at 14:56 Labels: celebrities, deaths, inventors, [...]

  9. Mike, 3 years ago Reply

    What about Jimi Heselden? The dude that’s CEO of segways who died when he drove off a cliff with one?

  10. Lady Lu in the moon - The Most Ironic Deaths In History, 3 years ago Reply

    [...] Mar. 3rd, 2011 at 6:00 PM Some of these deaths include historical figures, royalties, celebrities and inventors. Remembering these various accounts of ironic deaths never fail to bring an eerie kind of sense.Source:http://itthing.com/most-ironic-deaths [...]

  11. Dave, 3 years ago Reply

    What about the bloke who invented the Atkins diet who died of heart disease caused by high cholesterol brought about by his diet?

    • cas, 3 years ago Reply

      Dr. Atkins died from injuries caused by a fall on a patch of ice. Jeesh!

  12. myne, 3 years ago Reply

    Your understanding of irony is quite poor.

    Irony is when someone flirts with a consequence regularly and avoids it, but then gets blind sided by something related to that consequence but not caused by them, and not generally risky.

    Maree Curie dying of radiation poisoning is clearly expected.

    Irony would be Charlie sheen dying of an allergic reaction to aspirin. It’s closely related to his high risk lifestyle of taking lots of drugs, but it is the least likely way he could take a drug and die.

    Irony would be Michael Schumacher, stopped at some traffic lights, being rear ended in a minor fender bender and subsequently killed by a malfunctioning airbag. It’s ironic because no one would expect him to die stationary in a vehicle let alone be killed by a safety device.

    Irony would be a motorcyclist I heard of (through a crash investigator) who, after t-boning a car that ran a stop sign, launched into a pole at high speed, got up, was a little dazed but seemed ok, and then took his helmet off. His skull collapsed. Ironically his helmet was the only thing keeping his shattered bones together.

    Irony would be if the guy who landed without a parachute and survived, later tripped over in the street, hit his head and died.
    Actually, that’s pretty similar to how my old Nokia 3315 died.
    I used to drop that thing onto concrete from balconies as a party trick. Probably did it 20 times in its 2 year life. One day it slipped out of my hands while I was sitting in a waiting room. It hit the tiles a mere 2 feet lower and the screen broke.

    That’s irony. Now, go find some real ironic deaths.

  13. Isso é bizarro : As mortes mais irônicas da História | Eram os Deuses Internautas?, 3 years ago Reply

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  14. Tammy, 3 years ago Reply

    steve irwin is one of the most boldest person and because of steve i started watching the adventures videos.His death is big disappointment for all adventures lovers around the world.

  15. C, 3 years ago Reply

    Bobby Leach is not the first person to go over the falls. Annie Taylor went over in a wooden barrel on her 63rd birthday in 1901, ten years before Leach went over; but Leach got famous, and Taylor died poor.

  16. Pimpo, 3 years ago Reply

    Armenians put melted gold in his mouth (Crassus)

  17. Canada Goose Parkas, 3 years ago Reply

    these people‘s death are fantastic,such as Hans Steininger . As he was caught in a fire, he accidentally tripped over his long beard, broke his neck and died. death always comes beyond expectation.

  18. Breaking History » Archive » When What You’re Known For Kills You, 2 years ago Reply

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  19. On Beards – Can You Ever Have Too Much Of A Good Thing? Captain Trelawney Discourses « The Armchair Manifesto, 2 years ago Reply

    [...] to throw caution to the wind and let their chin whiskers reach dire proportions; ye can just ask Hans Steininger, and ye’ll discover that ye can have too much of a good thing. Share [...]

  20. Andrew, 1 year ago Reply

    Seems the author got his concept of irony from the Alanis Morrissette song.

  21. bunky, 1 year ago Reply

    Your Myra Davis statement is wrong. See Wikipedia.


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