It’s hard to imagine a worse place to die than sitting on the toilet, doing your business. If you gotta go, the worst place to go would be where you’re already, you know…going.
Death-via-toilet is the stuff of many urban legends. Have you heard the one about the guy who got sucked out of an airplane by the brute force of an airplane toilet’s flushing? What about the one where either a spider…or a rat…or an alligator emerges from a toilet and bites someone where the sun don’t shine?
But the following cases are not urban legends. They involve people both great and small who expired in the process of excreting.
1. Elvis Presley: The King Died On The Throne
This poor boy from Mississippi is one of many examples of how fame can corrode and ruin someone’s soul. He rapidly went from truck driver to the world’s most famous entertainer, and the pressures of stardom rapidly took their toll on him. In August 1977 at the age of 42, Presley looked at least 15 years older from all the ravages and bloating caused by an out-of-control pill habit. His fiancée Ginger Alden found him dead on the bathroom floor, covered in vomit with his pajamas on his ankles. He had fallen off the toilet while reading a book called The Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus. The official cause of death has been listed as cardiac arrhythmia, but since his autopsy report was sealed, we will not know the official cause until the year 2027. It is suspected that he died of a heart attack while straining to defecate due to the severe constipation caused by prescription opiate addiction.
2. Lenny Bruce: Vulgar Comedian Died On The Toilet With A Needle In His Arm
A barrier-breaker when it came to public use of drugs, a public marriage to a stripper named Honey Harlow, and the use of obscene terms in standup comedy, the foulmouthed serial junkie and police informant Lenny Bruce was found dead on the toilet in 1966 in the Hollywood hills with a needle stuck in his arm. The cause of death was listed as “acute morphine poisoning caused by an overdose.”
3. Judy Garland: Somewhere Under The Rainbow
Most famous for her role as Dorothy in the timeless movie classic The Wizard of Oz—filmed when she was only 17—Judy Garland would suffer a mostly miserable and tumultuous adult life. She went through five husbands and countless pills until the day in 1969 when her husband found her dead in the bathroom from an overdose of barbiturates with blood streaming from her mouth.
4. Lupe Velez: “Mexican Spitfire” Died Of Pill Overdose On The Loo
A smoking-hot actress known as the “Mexican Spitfire,” Lupe Velez was one of the few women of color to gain a foothold in Hollywood back in the 1920s and 1930s. She had several torrid affairs with big-named male stars such as Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller, and boxer Jack Dempsey. She finally settled down with a fairly obscure actor named Harald Maresch, who impregnated her. But since she was Catholic and Maresch refused to marry her, this threw her into a pit of despair. One day in 1944 at the age of 36, Velez decorated her bathroom with hundreds of flowers and swallowed a fatal dose of 75 Seconal tablets. She left the following note:
To Harald: May God forgive you and forgive me, too; but I prefer to take my life away and our baby’s, before I bring him with shame, or killin’ [sic] him.
5. Duke Jing Of Jin: Ancient Chinese Ruler Fell Into The Toilet Pit And Drowned
From 599-581 BC, Duke Jing ruled over the state of Jin in ancient China. His shaman predicted he would die an untimely death, which led to nightmares, which led to him finally falling right into his toilet hall and drowning to death in the slurry pit below. Of all the cases here, this is the most disgusting. Better to be speared in the anus than to drown in poop.
6. King Edmund II Of England: Stabbed In The Butt By A Viking Hiding Under His Toilet
He earned the nickname “Ironsides” for his fierce opposition to would-be Danish conquerors. But he should have more fiercely patrolled the privy areas under the royal toilets, because one day in the year 1016, a Viking enemy who’d been lurking under the king’s personal loo rose up and stabbed him to death with a piercing volley to the king’s anus.
7. Godfrey The Hunchback: ALSO Stabbed In The Butt By Someone Hiding Under His Toilet!
Nicknamed “The Hunchback” due to his diminutive stature, Godfrey IV, Duke of Lower Lorraine suffered a very similar fate to King Edmund—one day while doing his doo-da’s on a toilet in a Dutch city, an assassin rose from the muck beneath his toilet and stabbed Godfrey in his poop chute. Godfrey suffered for a week before finally dying of his wounds.
8. Uesugi Kenshin: Japanese Warlord Speared By Crouching Ninja
If you’ve never seen the movie Crouching Ninja, Hidden Toilet, that’s because we just made it up. No such movie exists. But renowned Japanese warlord Uesugi Kenshin succumbed one day in April of 1578 to the same fate that would befall the aforementioned Western royals—a ninja who was crouching in the pit beneath his toilet rose up and delivered a death blow with one jab of a spear.
9. Wenceslaus III Of Bohemia: Speared By An Assassin While Sitting On The Toilet
OK, this is getting redundant—these so-called “royals” probably had bodyguards everywhere except where they really needed them, i.e., the bathroom. While sitting on the loo one day in 1306, a hired assassin burst into Wenceslaus’s bathroom and speared him to death. It’s better than being speared in the anus, but still….
10. King George II Of Great Britain: Died From “Overexertions On The Privy”
Finally, we find a king who died on “the throne” from natural causes. A native German, George somehow weaseled his way into becoming King of England, even though he continued spending so much time in Germany that he was referred to as “the king who wasn’t there.” In 1760 while sitting on the crapper, George strained so hard to poo that his heart exploded.
11. Michael Anderson Godwin: Electrocuted Himself On A Steel Toilet In A South Carolina Prison
South Carolina resident Godwin was originally convicted of robbery in 1978. While out on work release, he murdered someone and was sentenced to life in prison. One day in 1989, he was sitting naked on a steel toilet in his cell—don’t ask me why, because I don’t want to know and I’m a bit ashamed that you would even ask—he bit into a live electrical wire while trying to fix his headphones. In effect, he sentenced himself to death via the electric chair.
12. Lawrence Baker: ALSO Electrocuted Himself On A Steel Toilet, This Time In A Pennsylvania Prison!
What’s with these convicts electrocuting themselves via headphones on their steel toilets? It really makes one want to avoid a life of crime by any means necessary. In January of 1997, convicted killer Lawrence Baker was listening to headphones connected to TV in his cell when he suddenly decided it would be a good idea to sit on his steel toilet. It would be the last decision he’d ever make.
13. Evelyn Waugh: English Novelist Died Of Heart Attack On Toilet After Attending Mass
A highly successful—he wrote Brideshead Revisited—and egregiously effeminate English novelist who may or may not have been a closeted gay man, as Waugh neared 50 he was struck with a series of ailments including deafness, rheumatism, and clinical depression. His faith in God remained unhindered, though. On a Sunday in 1966 after returning from mass, he suffered a massive heart attack on his downstairs commode.
14. Don Simpson: Twenty-Eight Different Drugs Were Found In His Body
A massively successful film producer—he was behind blockbusters such as Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun—Simpson also had a massive prescription drug habit which reportedly cost him a whopping $600,000 every month. When police found his corpse on the bathroom floor in January 1996, they also found over 2,000 pills in his bedroom cupboard, arranged alphabetically. Simpson had been reading a biography of filmmaker Oliver Stone when he died. An autopsy found 28 different drugs in his body.
15. Christopher Shale: Dead Of A Heart Attack In A Portable Toilet At A Music Festival
Conservatives aren’t supposed to attend music festivals, but that’s exactly where Tory British politician Christopher Shale found himself in June 2011—at the Glastonbury Festival. He died of a heart attack in a Port-A-Potty at age 56.
16. Albert Faille: Gold Prospector And Fur Trapper Died In An Outhouse
Borin the frosty climes of Minnesota in the late 1800s, Faille gained fame as a rugged outdoorsman who labored in lumber camps, guided tourists on canoe trips, prospecting gold, and trapping fur-bearing animals. He was the subject of one book and three film documentaries. One day in 1973, he was found dead in an outhouse.
17. Louis Kahn: Architect Died Of Heart Attack In Train Station Bathroom
Along with Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn was one of America’s very few celebrity architects. One day in 1974, Kahn stopped to use the restroom at Penn Station in Manhattan, where he suffered a fatal heart attack.