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The following are lists of notable people who intentionally terminated their own lives. Suicides committed under duress are included. Deaths by accident or misadventure are excluded. Individuals who might or might not have died by their own hand, or whose intention to die is in dispute, but who are widely believed to have deliberately killed themselves, may be listed under Possible suicides.

Suicides

A



B



C



D



E



F

  • Audrey Fagan (2007), Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner, hanging
  • Angus Fairhurst (2008), British artist, hanging
  • Richard Farnsworth (2000), American actor, gunshot
  • Justin Fashanu (1998), British footballer, hanging
  • René Favaloro (2000), Argentinian doctor, creator of coronary artery bypass surgery, gunshot
  • Paul Federn (1950), Austrian-American psychoanalyst
  • Jeff Fehring (2008), Australian footballer
  • Andrea Feldman (1972), American actress and Warhol superstar, jumped out of building
  • Hans Fischer (1945), German Nobel Prize winning chemist
  • George Fiske (1918), American photographer, shot himself
  • Robert FitzRoy (1865), Governor-General of New Zealand, Royal Navy officer, Nephew of the Viscount Castlereagh, razor
  • Ed Flanders (1995), American actor (St. Elsewhere), gunshot
  • Frederick Fleet (1965), British Titanicmarker lookout who first spotted the iceberg, hanging
  • John Gould Fletcher (1950), American Pulitzer Prize winning poet, drowning
  • Bernard Floud (1967), UK Member of Parliament, gas and barbiturates
  • James V. Forrestal (1949), former U.S. Secretary of Defense, fall from window, possible homicide
  • Dédé Fortin (2000), Canadian leader and singer of Québec band Les Colocs, stabbed himself
  • Seán Fortune (1999), Irish Roman Catholic priest charged with molesting children, overdose
  • Vincent Foster (1993), American Deputy White House Counsel, gunshot
  • Wade Frankummarker (1991), American spree shooter of Strathfield Massacre, gunshot
  • Nora May French (1907), American poet, poison(swallowing cyanide)
  • Sigmund Freud (1939), Austrian founder of psychoanalysis, morphine overdose
  • John Friedrich (1991), Australian businessman and fraud, gunshot
  • Misao Fujimura (1903), Japanese high school student, drowning
  • Anton Furst (1991), British production designer, jumped from the eighth floor of a parking structure


G



H



I

  • Youssef Idilbi (2008), Dutch actor, jumped from the roof of a building
  • William Inge (1973), American playwright (Picnic, Come Back, Little Sheba, Bus Stop, Splendor in the Grass), carbon monoxide
  • Juzo Itami (1997), Japanese actor and film director, jumped off building
  • Bruce Edwards Ivins (2008), American microbiologist suspected of the 2001 anthrax attacks, Tylenol overdose


J

  • Charles R. Jackson (1968), American author
  • Ziad Jarrah (2001), Lebanese Al Qaeda terrorist, 9/11 attacks
  • Jang Ja-yeon (2009), South Korean actress, hanging
  • Vittorio Jano (1965), Hungarian automobile design engineer
  • Alice de Janzé (1941), American heiress, gunshot
  • Richard Jeni (2007), American comedian, gunshot
  • Clayne Jeffs, nephew of Warren Jeffs, committed suicide with a firearm after admitting that Warren Jeffs had sexually assaulted him as a child.
  • Johnny "J" (2008), American record producer, jumped from ledge
  • Anson Jones (1858), doctor, businessman, congressman, and the last president of the Republic of Texas, gunshot
  • Jim Jones (1978), American leader of the Peoples Temple cult, died along with 914 of his followers in a mass murder-suicide at Jonestown in northwestern Guyana, gunshot
  • Alex Jordan (1995), American adult film actress, hanging
  • Timothy Jordan II (2005), The All-American Rejects' touring keyboardist
  • Nafisa Joseph (2004), Femina India Universe 1997, Miss Universe 1997 semi-finalist and MTV VJ, hanging
  • Luc Jouret (1994), Belgian cult leader
  • Attila József (1937), Hungarian poet, jumped in front of train
  • Jung Da Bin (2007), South Korean Actress, hanging
  • Claude Jutra (1986), Canadian film actor, writer, and director, drowning


K



L



  • Jon Lee (2002), British drummer of the band Feeder, hanging
  • Lee Kyung Hae (2003) South Korean farmer and activist, stabbed himself at a protest
  • Trent Lehman (1982), American former child actor (Nanny and the Professor), hanging
  • Megan Leigh (1990), American erotic dancer and porn star, gunshot
  • Norman van Lennep (1897), Dutch chess master, drowning in the North Sea
  • Marc Lépine (1989), Canada's most prolific spree killer; gunshot
  • Primo Levi (1987), Italian author and Auschwitz survivor, jumped out of a building
  • Mark Levy (2009), American attorney and former Clinton administration official, gunshot
  • Meriwether Lewis (1809), U.S. explorer with William Clark, gunshot. There is some debate as to whether his death was a suicide.
  • Robert Ley (1945), German Nazi war criminal, hanging
  • Friedrich Leibacher (2001), Swiss spree killer of 14 in Zug massacre, gunshot
  • Max Linder, (1925), French actor, double-suicide pact with wife, poison
  • Vachel Lindsay (1931), American poet, drank a bottle of Lysol
  • Louis Lingg (1887), German anarchist scheduled to be hanged for his alleged role in the Haymarket Square riot bomb, committed suicide by holding a lit stick of dynamite in his mouth
  • Friedrich List (1846), German economist
  • Jesse Lauriston Livermore (1940), American stock trader, gunshot
  • Mikael Ljungberg (2004), Swedish wrestler, Olympic gold medalist
  • Peter Llewelyn-Davies (1960), British publisher who inspired J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, threw himself in front of a train
  • Ross Lockridge, Jr. (1948), American novelist, author of Raintree County, asphyxiation via car fumes
  • Philip Loeb (1955), American blacklisted actor, barbiturate overdose
  • Mark Lombardi (2000), American artist whose art described international white-collar crime networks, hanging
  • Terry Long (2005), American former NFL player, ingested antifreeze
  • Hans Loritz (1946), German concentration camp commandant at various times — Esterwegen, Dachau, Sachsenhausen
  • Noah Lottick (1990), American Scientologist, profiled in TIME article The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power
  • Gang Lu (1991), physics graduate student and mass murderer at the University of Iowa, gunshot
  • Gherasim Luca (1994), Romanian surrealist, jumped into the Seine
  • Lucan (65), Roman poet, fatally cut himself
  • Ron Luciano (1995), American baseball umpire, carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Aleksandr Mikhailovich Lyapunov (1918), Russian mathematician, mechanician and physicist, gunshot
  • Roman Lyashenko (2003), Russian professional hockey player, hanging


M



N

  • Hisayasu Nagata (2009), Japanese politician, jumped from a building
  • Murat Nasyrov (2007), Russian-Kazakh singer, jumped from balcony
  • Scott Nearing (1983), American peace activist and practical conservationist; by self-starvation at nearly 100 years of age
  • Oskar Nedbal (1930), Czech composer (The Tale of the Simply Johnny); jumped out a window on Christmas Eve
  • Nekojiru (1998), aka Hashiguchi Chiyomi, Japanese mangaka
  • Nero (68), emperor of Rome, stabbed himself while being pursued by Roman soldiers
  • Gérard de Nerval (1855), French writer, hanging
  • Ni Min-jan (2005), Taiwanese actor and comedian, hanged.
  • Frank Nitti (1943), United States gangster, gunshot
  • Maresuke Nogi (1912), Japanese hero of Russo-Japanese war, committed seppuku with his wife following death of Meiji emperor
  • Jon Nödtveidt (2006), frontman of Swedish black metal band Dissection, gunshot
  • Alighiero Noschese (1979), Italian impersonator, shot himself.


O

  • Lawrence Oates (1912), Antarctic explorer; he said "I am just going outside and may be some time" when he walked out of the tent to his death in the blizzard, leaving behind Robert Falcon Scott and the others
  • John O'Brien (1994), American author of Leaving Las Vegas (on which the film was based), gunshot
  • C. Y. O'Connor (1902), Irish engineer, gunshot
  • Hugh O'Connor (1995), American actor, gunshot
  • Luis Ocaña (1994), Spanish cyclist, Tour de France winner, gunshot
  • Phil Ochs (1976), American singer, hanged himself in sister's apartment, Far Rockaway, New York
  • Per Yngve Ohlin (a.k.a. Dead), (1991), Norwegian vocalist for the band Mayhem, killed himself with a shotgun after having slashed his wrist and cut his throat
  • Yukiko Okada (1986), Japanese idol of the 1980s, jumped from a seven story building after failed wrist slashing and gas inhalation attempts
  • Lembit Oll (1999), Estonian chess Grandmaster, jumped out of window
  • Otho (69), Roman emperor, stabbed himself with a dagger


P



Q



R

  • Geli Raubal (1931), Austrian niece and possibly lover of Adolf Hitler, gunshot
  • Jason Raize (2004), American Broadway actor and recording star who originated the role of Simba in the Lion King, hanging
  • Lynne Randell (2007), Australian singer, overdose
  • Kuljeet Randhawa (2006), Indian television actress, hanging
  • Danny Rapp (1983), American singer (Danny & the Juniors), gunshot
  • David Rappaport (1990), British actor, gunshot
  • Abram Raselemane (2008), South African footballer
  • Margaret Mary Ray (1998), American stalker of television host David Letterman, knelt in front of a train
  • Liam Rector (2007), American poet, gunshot
  • Alfred Redl (1913), Austrian army officer, spied for Russia, gunshot
  • George Reeves (1959), American actor, played Superman on television, death officially ruled as suicide by gunshot, but remains controversial to this day
  • David Reimer (2004), Canadian advocate, known as the "John/Joan" case, gunshot
  • John Reynolds (1966), American actor, played Torgo in the infamous cult classic "Manos" The Hands of Fate, gunshot or overdose
  • Thomas Caute Reynolds (1887), Confederate Governor of Missouri, jumped down elevator shaft
  • Thomas Reynolds (1844), American Governor of Missouri 1840-1844, shot himself
  • David Ritcheson (2007), American hate crime victim, jumped off cruise ship
  • René Rivkin (2005), Australian stockbroker and entrepreneur
  • Carlos Roberto Reina (2003), former president of Honduras, gunshot
  • Malachi Ritscher (2006), American anti-war protester, self-immolation at Chicago's Kennedy expressway
  • Angel Rivero Mendez (1930), Puerto Rican soldier for the Spanish Army, inventor, gunshot
  • John Robarts (1982), former Premier of the Canadian province of Ontario, 1961-1971; committed suicide with shotgun
  • Rachel Roberts (1980), Welsh-born British actress, overdose
  • Bill Robinzine (1982), American basketball player, carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Charles Rocket (2005), American comedian, slit own throat
  • Sue Rodriguez (1994), Canadian amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) victim and advocate for Euthanasia, assisted suicide
  • Roh Moo-hyun (2009), former president of South Korea, jumped from a cliff
  • Lukasz Romanek (2006), Polish Speedway rider, former World Under 21 champion. Found dead in his workshop
  • Samuel Romilly (1818), British prison reformer, slit own throat
  • Edgar Rosenberg (1987), American husband of comedienne Joan Rivers, overdose
  • Mark Rothko (1970), Latvian-American painter, slit arms
  • Jacques Roux (1794), leader of the Enrages in the French Revolution, stabbed himself while facing execution
  • Ruan Lingyu (1935), Chinese actress, overdose
  • Thomas Jefferson Rusk (1857), American senator from Texas, gunshot
  • Michael Ryan (1987), British mass murderer at Hungerford; self-inflicted gunshot wound after killing many others
  • Jakub Jan Ryba (1815), Czech composer and teacher, slit own throat


S



T



U

  • U;Nee (2007), South Korean actress and singer, hanging
  • Ernst Udet (1941), German air ace and Luftwaffe inspector general, gunshot
  • Urmuz (1923), Romanian writer
  • Mitsuru Ushijima (1945), Japanese military commander who lost the Battle of Okinawa, seppuku


V



W



Y



Z



Forced suicide

The following people committed forced suicide - acts of suicide as a punishment at the behest of civil or judicial authorities:

  • Asano Naganori (1701), Japanese noble, forced to commit seppuku after attacking Kira Yoshinaka. The Forty-seven Ronin , former retainers of Naganori, were also ordered to commit seppuku in 1703 after killing Yoshinaka.
  • Ludwig Beck (1944), German Chief of the General Staff of the OKH, forced to commit suicide after the failed 20th of July plot.
  • Fusu (210 BC), son of the First Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang and brother of the Second Emperor Qin Er Shi; forced to commit suicide by a fake decree.
  • Hōjō Ujimasa (1590), lord of Odawara, after Toyotomi Hideyoshi successfully besieged him.
  • Hōjō Ujiteru (1590), brother of Hōjō Ujimasa
  • Li Tan (757), son of Emperor Suzong of China; forced to commit suicide after false accusations that he meant to kill his brother Li Chu.
  • Mori Ranmaru (1582), Oda Nobunaga's servant and close companion, forced to commit suicide along with him.
  • Oda Nobunaga (1582), after being betrayed by his general Akechi Mitsuhide.
  • Qin Er Shi (207 BC), the second emperor of Qin dynasty China, forced to commit suicide by Zhao Gao.
  • Erwin Rommel (1944), German Field Marshal, was remotely connected to a plot against Hitler; forced to take poison in exchange for his family being protected from reprisals.
  • Seneca the Younger (65), was ordered to commit suicide by the emperor Nero
  • Socrates (399 BCE), Greek philosopher, ordered to drink hemlock juice after his trial in Athens. In the Crito, Socrates is offered a chance to escape but refuses.


Possible suicides

The following is a list of people whose cause of death is disputed, or whose intention to commit suicide is doubtful.

A

  • George Washington Adams (1829), Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and the son of John Quincy Adams. Adams drowned after going overboard. It is generally assumed that he committed suicide.
  • Neil Aggett (1982), South African worker's union leader, hanged in prison; murder is suspected by some
  • Aman Andom (1974), military ruler of Ethiopia; died while resisting troops sent to arrest him, but circumstances are unclear
  • Pier Angeli (1971), Italian-born actress, died of an overdose of barbiturates. Speculation that her death was a suicide has never been officially confirmed.


B

  • Diana Barrymore (1960), American stage and film actress, overdose of sleeping pills. It wasn't the first time she took sleeping pills for insomnia. Some historians speculate whether it was intentional.
  • Andreas Baader (1977), leader of the German revolutionary organization Red Army Faction (RAF). His suicide by gunshot to the head whilst in prison is questioned by some supporters of the group.
  • John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset (1444), English nobleman, allegedly killed himself after being excluded from court.
  • Gertrude Bell (1926), British archaeologist, writer, spy and administrator known as the "Uncrowned Queen of Iraq", overdose, but unknown whether it was intentional
  • Anastasia Blue (2008), American adult film star , an overdose of Tylenol but no proof (such as a note or phone call) that it was intentional
  • Boudica (61 AD), Iceni queen, reportedly either drank poison or died of an illness after her army was defeated by the Romans.
  • Gaetano Bresci (1901), Italian anarchist, assassin of King Umberto I (officially died as a result of suicide, but was found strangled)


C



D

  • Rudolf Diesel (1913), inventor of the Diesel engine, went overboard from a passenger ship, but circumstances were never established
  • Nick Drake (1974), British singer-songwriter, overdose of the anti-depressant tryptizol, possibly accidental
  • Guru Dutt (1964), Indian actor and director; accidental or intentional overdose of sleeping pills


E

  • Gudrun Ensslin (1977), German revolutionary, member of Red Army Faction (RAF)


G

  • Zviad Gamsakhurdia (1993), former president of Georgia, gunshot
  • Jessie Gilbert (2006), British chess player, fell from 8th floor after drinking heavily, inquiry led to an open verdict
  • Odilo Globocnik (1945), Austrian Nazi leader; likely died by taking cyanide, but reports of his death are confused


H



J

  • Randall Jarrell (1965), American writer, struck by a car and killed at an odd hour of the evening on a lonesome stretch of road near Chapel Hill, North Carolina; after struggling with clinical depression and shortly after a suicide attempt in which he unsuccessfully slashed his wrists
  • Judas Iscariot, traitor to Jesus, hanged himself according to the Gospel of Matthew; the Book of Acts suggests he died in an accidental fall, while the apocryphical Gospel of Judas suggests he was stoned to death by the other Apostles


K

  • Frida Kahlo (1954), Mexican painter. Supposedly died of a pulmonary embolism, but no autopsy was performed, and many are convinced that she committed suicide.
  • Weldon Kees (1955), American poet, artist and musician. Vanished in 1955; his car was found beside the Golden Gate Bridge, from which he may have leaped to his death. He had spoken to his friends of suicide beforehand, but had also spoken of departing for Mexico; either may have happened.
  • David Kellerman (2009), Acting Chief Financial Officer of Freddie Mac. Reportedly committed suicide in his home in Reston, Virginia.
  • Levi Kereama (2008), Singer; Australian Idol contestant, fell from a highrise; suicide is disputed by his family
  • Sándor Kocsis (1979), Hungarian soccer player, jumped out of window, disputed
  • Ruslana Korshunova (2008), fashion model, fell from building. It was ruled a suicide, though many people who knew her doubt this


L

  • Alan Ladd (1964), U.S. film star, overdose of alcohol and pills, highly disputed for many years
  • Alun Lewis (1944), British soldier and poet, found near the officers' latrine, a gunshot in his head, his revolver still in his hand. The official Army Court of Inquiry concluded that his death was accidental, but suicide has been suggested.
  • Diane Linkletter (1969), American, daughter of Art Linkletter, jumped out of window, but may have been under the influence of drugs
  • Jack London (1916), U.S. novelist, overdose of morphine and atropine (disputed by his widow)
  • Malcolm Lowry (1957), British writer, sleeping pill overdose, disputed as to accidental
  • Ludwig II of Bavaria (1886), drowned in captivity, officially ruled as suicide but circumstances are unclear


M

  • Ettore Majorana, Italian physicist who disappeared in 1938; one of the possible considered explanations is that he committed suicide by drowning
  • Jan Masaryk (1948), Czech statesman, found dead in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. Though the initial 'investigation' stated that he committed suicide by jumping out of the window, it is now commonly believed that he was defenestrated by Communists.
  • Hideto Matsumoto, also known as "hide" (1998), Japanese musician, lead guitarist of X Japan, hanging (possibly accidental)
  • Robert Maxwell (1991), Czech-born UK newspaper magnate who, some believe, jumped overboard in the Atlantic leaving a financial disaster in his wake — the official inquest ruled it was 'accidental drowning'
  • Ulrike Meinhof (1976) German radical leftist terrorist; disputed, died in prison cell, hanging
  • Jürgen W. Möllemann (2003), German politician, parachute failure
  • Marilyn Monroe (1962), American actress, found dead in her bed in her California home from an overdose of sleeping pills. For more information, see Death of Marilyn Monroe.
  • Renate Müller (1937), German actress, fall from window originally reported as resulting from an epileptic seizure; also reported by some that the Gestapomarker was involved in her death
  • James Murray (1936), American silent film actor (The Crowd), drowned in the Hudson River, but it was never officially determined whether it was suicide or an accident


P

  • Pier delle Vigne (1249), Italian diplomat. Reportedly killed himself to avoid torture, although the circumstances of his death are not certain. In The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri puts him among suicides.
  • Giuseppe Pinelli (1969), Italian anarchist. Was picked up for questioning regarding the Piazza Fontanamarker terrorist attack in Milan that killed 16 people and injured 84. On December 15, 1969 Pinelli was seen to fall to his death from a fourth floor window of the Milan police headquarters.
  • John Polidori (1821), Poet, doctor, writer, apparently drank prussic acid in his bedroom, however, the coroner recorded death by natural causes.
  • Freddie Prinze (1977), Puerto Rican American comedian and actor, best known for television show Chico and the Man, died of self inflicted gunshot wound, but later ruled an accidental shooting due to the influence of drugs


Q

  • Quintillus (270), Roman emperor, various conflicting accounts of his death, but possible suicide by wrist-slitting


R

  • Jan-Carl Raspe (1977), German criminal in Baader-Meinhof gang
  • Dean Reed (1986), musician known as the "Red Elvis" for his leftist political views and popularity in the Soviet Bloc, drowned, but may have been accidental; his family claimed it was murder
  • Irv Rubin (2002), leader of the Jewish Defense League, cut throat and fell off balcony while in prison, disputed by his family
  • Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria (1889), heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, gunshot, officially as part of a suicide pact, but there is substantial speculation about a murder coverup


S

  • Romy Schneider (1982), Austrian actress, found dead in her apartment in Paris in May 1982, suggested suicide by taking a lethal cocktail of alcohol and sleeping pills. However, no post-mortem examination was carried out, and she was declared to have died from cardiac arrest.
  • Edie Sedgwick (1972), American socialite, Warhol superstar, overdose. The coroner ruled Sedgwick's death as "undetermined/accident/suicide".
  • Elizabeth Shin (2000), MIT student, died from burns inflicted by a fire in her dormitory room after sending emails to faculty members saying that she was depressed and wanted to kill herself.
  • Elizabeth Siddal (1862), Pre-Raphaelite icon and wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, officially an accidental overdose, but Rossetti may have destroyed a suicide note
  • Elliott Smith (2003), American musician (reported as suicide, still officially under investigation — no suspects named). Smith died of two fatal stab wounds to the chest after an argument with his girlfriend. An official autopsy was carried out, the results of which were inconclusive.
  • Silk Smitha, South Indian actress, found dead in her apartment


T

  • Saigō Takamori (1876), Japanese samurai, injured in battle, might have committed suicide, or been killed by comrades rather than being killed or captured by the enemy.
  • Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1893), Russian composer. Generally assumed to have died of cholera; one account claims that he committed suicide by taking arsenic following an attempt to blackmail him over his homosexuality.


V



W

  • Peter Warlock (1930), UK composer (also known as Philip Heseltine); gas poisoning, but suicide was never established definitively
  • Kenneth Williams (1988), English actor, barbiturate overdose. Williams was taking medication for back pain and stomach trouble, which he referred to in the last sentence in his diary, concluding "oh — what's the bloody point?". His diary had often spoke of suicidal thoughts. The coroner recorded an open verdict.


Y

  • Alfredo Yabrán (1998), Argentine businessman, gunshot, sometimes alleged to have faked his death


References

  1. Diane Arbus at the Jewish Virtual Library
  2. David Kelly and Gary Cohn. "Insider accounts put sect leader on the run" Los Angeles Times 2006-05-16
  3. John D. W. Guice, James J. Holmberg, and Jay H. Buckley, By His Own Hand? The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis. University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.


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