12 Unintentionally Hilarious and Ironic Deaths

by Miranda Marquit

Death is part of life—there's no avoiding it. And most of us die in ways that appear unrelated to a grander plan. But there are those whose deaths seem to indicate the Universe is conspiring to make a statement. Here are 12 ironic deaths that make an eerie kind of sense:

1. Marcus Licinius Crassus

A member of the first triumvirate with Julius Caesar (and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus), Marcus Licinius Crassus was known for his flair as a general - and for his wealth. Rich enough to fund his own armies and invasions, he met his match with the Parthians. In order to punish him for his greed, they poured molten gold down his throat in 53 BC. There's a way for a rich guy to die. Marcus Licinius Crassus

2. Clement Laird Vallandigham

Clement Laird Vallandigham was an interesting study in irony and contradiction. He opposed slavery, but wanted Abraham Lincoln removed as president. He was also a lawyer known for his involved style of defending clients. In order to demonstrate during a court case in 1871 that is was possible for the deceased to have shot himself accidentally, Vallandigham actually...shot himself accidentally. He died, but his client, accused of murder, got off, since the lawyer had successfully offered an alternative narrative. Clement Vallandigham

3. Bobby Leach

You would expect a well-known daredevil to go down in a blaze of glory during an amazingly challenging stunt. Unfortunately, that's not what happened to Bobby Leach. Leach survived a broken jaw and broken knee caps as the first person to successfully navigate Niagara Falls in 1911. However, in 1926 Leach met his match in an orange peel. He slipped and fell on the rind, and fractured his leg. He died of gangrene. Bobby Leach

4. Jerome Moody

In New Orleans, at the end of the summer of 1985, there was a party at the recreation department's pool. The staff were celebrating that no one had drowned that swimming season. Four lifeguards were on duty at the party, but that didn't help Jerome Moody, a (non-lifeguard) guest. He was found dead in the deep end during the party's clean up. So much for a drowning-free swim season.

5. Jean-Baptiste Lully

The Italian composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (he altered his name while working in France) also served as a ballet dancer. The king enjoyed his ballet compositions, and Lully performed in them. One evening, while conducting a piece honoring Louis XIV's recovery from illness in 1867, Lully slammed the staff used to beat out the time on the floor into his toe. As a result, the musician himself became sick from an abscess on the injured toe and died of gangrene. Jean Baptiste Lully

6. Michael Anderson Godwin

Michael Anderson Godwin was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the electric chair. However, he managed have his sentence reduced to life in prison, avoiding the electric chair. However, the fates considered that he had a date with destiny. In 1989, Godwin died in an electric chair. He was trying to fix his TV set while sitting on a metal toilet. When he bit into a wire, Godwin was electrocuted and died.

7. George Story

When Life magazine launched in 1936, one of the first photos displayed inside featured George Story, a baby, and the caption "Life Begins". Throughout the run of Life Magazine, updates on Story were included periodically. Then, in 2000, Life announced it was folding. Less than a week later, Story died of heart failure. Fittingly, "A Life Ends" was an article in the last issue of Life, and it featured Story. lifecover

8. Mel Ignatow

Tried and acquitted for a grisly murder, Mel Ignatow became one of the most despised men in Kentucky after evidence came out that he was quite guilty, and that he bound his victim to a glass coffee table. However, he couldn't be tried for the murder again, and was instead convicted of perjury. After serving less than 10 years, in 2006, Ignatow was released. However, in 2008 he tripped and fell, apparently cutting himself on a glass coffee table. He bled out slowly, dying due to his injuries. Mel Ignatow

9. Jerome Rodale

One of the founders of the organic movement, and a longevity guru, Jerome Rodale announced, in 1971, that he would live to be 100 to the New York Times Magazine during an interview. He said that a sugar-crazed taxi driver might be the death of him, but that he felt great, and would live nearly 30 more years. However, the next day, at the age of 72, Rodale slipped quietly into eternity on stage on the Dick Cavett Show. Jerome Rodale

10. Adolf Frederick of Sweden

King Adolf Frederick was not known as the most talented of rulers. He was generally considered the king who presided over Sweden's decline. He did have one overwhelming passion, though: food. He was a great eater. And, ironically, it was food that killed him. In 1771, the king had a huge dinner of caviar, lobster, sauerkraut, and smoked herring, washed down with champagne. Then, as a finisher, he ate 14 servings of the pastry semla. It was his love of food that finished him off, killing him through what is known as surfeit, or an excess of something (in this case, food and drink). Adolf Fredrik

11. Felix Lloyd Powell

Known as the composer of one of the most optimistic songs written, "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile," Felix Lloyd Powell apparently couldn't overcome his own issues. He wrote the tune, and his brother wrote the lyrics. It won a prize as the best morale building song in a World War I competition. However, his turn at increasing his own morale didn't work, and he committed suicide in 1942.

12. Jim Fixx

Author of bestseller The Complete Book of Running, Jim Fixx, was an advocate of how healthy living could extend your life. Fixx transformed himself from a smoker to a fit, middle-aged athlete who ran 10 miles a day. He talked up the value of running as a route to health and longevity. Many took up jogging as a way to increase their health, thanks to Fixx's efforts. However, instead of living a long life, Fixx died of a heart attack in 1984 at age 52 - right after his daily run. Jim Fixx1
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{ 4 comment… read it below or add one }

James Smith Jo��o Pessoa, Brazil July 30th, 2010
What is not often mentioned about Jim Fixx is that heart disease was prevalent in his family. His father and brothers all died from heart attacks in their 40s. So not only did he live longer, his quality of life was good right up to his death. That's a lot more than many can say.
James Smith Joao Pessoa, Brazil July 30th, 2010
What is not often mentioned about Jim Fixx is that heart disease was prevalent in his family. His father and brothers all died from heart attacks in their 40s. So not only did he live longer, his quality of life was good right up to his death. That's a lot more than many can say.
Terry Hamburg August 7th, 2010
There's nothing as gracious as going out with a sense of humor. Some celebrity tombstone epitaphs: All Things Considered, I'd Rather be in Philadelphia...W.C. Fields And Away We Go!... Jackie Gleason That's All Folks!...Mel Blanc (cartoon voice of practically everyone) I Will Not Be Back Right After This Message...Merv Griffin There's Goes The Neighborhood...Rodney Dangerfield Back to the Silents...Clark Gabel
bjorn December 22nd, 2010
Bobby Leach was the 2nd person to go over Niagara successfully, but the first male. Look up Annie Tyler.

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