Famous Last Words
0 01. Sean Flannagan
Spoken to the executioner, 1989:
"I love you."
7.3 02. Wendy O. Williams
"I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time."
7.8 03. James Whale
"The future is just old age and illness and pain.... I must have peace and this is the only way."
5 04. Terry Kath
Suicide playing Russian roulette.
"Don't worry, it's not loaded."
0 05. Jon Erik Hexum
Accidental suicide as he shot himself with a blank-loaded pistol on the set of TV spy show "Cover Up" in 1984. The concussion forced a chunk of his skull into his brain; he died six days later.
"Lets see if this will do it."
9.6 06. Robert E. Howard
On June 11th, while visiting his mother in a sanitarium, she had slipped in a coma and after a nurse confessed to him that she would not regain consciousness, he walked out to his car and pulled out a 38 revolver out of the glove box and shot himself in the head. He left behind this note:
“All fled…all alone, so lift me on the pyre; the feast is over, and the lamp expire.”
4 07. Charlotte Perkins Gilman
As an advocate for the right-to-die, Gilman committed suicide on August 17, 1935 by taking an overdose of chloroform. She "chose chloroform over cancer."
Her suicide note:
"When all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one."
0 08. Hart Crane
Last words as he jumped off the cruise ship "Orizaba." in 1932(his body was never found):
0 09. Nicolas-Sebastien Chamfort
Chamfort is the very exemplar of the botched suicide. Unable to tolerate the prospect of being imprisoned once more, in September 1793 he locked himself into his office and shot himself in the face. The pistol malfunctioned and he did not die even though he shot off his nose and part of his jaw. He then repeatedly stabbed his neck with a paper cutter, but failed to cut an artery. He finally used the paper cutter to stab himself in the chest. He dictated to those who came to arrest him the well-known declaration Moi, Sebastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort, déclare avoir voulu mourir en homme libre plutôt que d'être reconduit en esclave dans une maison d'arrêt
("I, Sebastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort, hereby declare my wish to die a free man rather than to continue to live as a slave in a prison")
which he signed in a firm hand and in his own blood. His butler found him unconscious in a pool of blood. From then until his death at Paris the following year, he suffered intensely and was attended to by a gendarme, whom he paid a crown a day.
Suicide note, 1794:
"And so I leave this world, where the heart must either break or turn to lead."
6 010. Heinrich Von Kleist
Heinrich von Kleist, a 18th century German writer and dramatist, found certainty in creating a ‘plan’ of his life’s goals. Following his ‘life plan’, Kleist was happy, confident and secure. Because of this, his suicide is sometimes critiqued as ironic. In reality, Kleist’s parents died when he was young, and he was haunted by their ghosts throughout his adult life. These visions, combined with his pursuit for ideal happiness, made him secretly miserable.
“I am going, since there is nothing left for me either to learn or gain in this life.”
8.4 011. Hunter S. Thompson
On February 20th, 2005, Thompson committed suicide by a single gunshot to the head. It is believed his suicide was instigated by his many painful medical conditions. A note that was sent to his wife “Anita” four days before the suicide, is believed to be the suicide note and read:
“No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
7 012. Sergei Yesenin
Yesenin’s life was filled with unpredictable drunken mishaps ; although still able to write some of his best poetry. Yesenin finally succumbed to a mental breakdown for, which he was hospitalized. Two days later on December 25th, 1925, he sliced his wrists and wrote his farewell poem in his own blood then hanged himself the following day. He left behind this suicide poem:
"Goodbye, my friend, goodbye
My love, you are in my heart.
It was preordained we should part
And be reunited by and by.
Goodbye: no handshake to endure.
Let's have no sadness -- furrowed brow.
There's nothing new in dying now
Though living is no newer."
8.7 013. Virginia Woolf
On 28 March 1941, Woolf put on her overcoat, filled its pockets with stones, and walked into the River Ouse near her home and drowned. Woolf's body was not found until 18 April 1941.
In her last note to her husband she wrote:
"I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V."
8.7 014. Arthur Koestler
"I wish my friends to now that I'm leaving their compnay in a peaceful frame of mind, with some timid hopes for a depersonalised afterlife beyond due confines of space, time and matter and beyond the limits of the comprehension. This 'oceanic feeling' has often sustained me at difficult moments, and does so now, while I'm writing this."
7.3 015. Ulysses S. Grant
Written a week before his death.
"There's nothing more that I should do to it now, and therefore I'm not likely to be more ready to go than at this moment."
8.7 016. Leo Tolstoy
"But the peasants...How do the peasants die?"
8.3 017. Gertrude Stein
"What is the answer? In that case, what is the question?"
8.8 018. Yukio Mishima
He spoke these words just before comitting seppuku.
"Human life is limited; but I would like to live forever."
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