Famous last words of 19 famous people

Elena Holodny
Thursday 16 February 2017 17:02

Last words have always fascinated people.

Perhaps they hold an echo of wisdom or a biting witticism — or at least a hint about who's getting what in the will.

And so, Business Insider put together a list of the reported last words of 18 famous historical figures.

Bob Marley, musician:


"Money can't buy life."

Source: The Guardian

Archimedes, mathematician:

"Stand away, fellow, from my diagram!"

Archimedes was killed during the Second Punic War. According to the historian Plutarch, a soldier came up to the mathematician and told him to go with him to Marcellus.

Archimedes, however, refused to do so until he finished the problem he was working on. Enraged, the soldier killed him.

Sources: "The Parallel Lives" by Plutarch, "Famous Last Words" by Laura Ward

Karl Marx, philosopher:


"Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."

Source: International Business Times

Augustus Caesar, first Roman emperor:

"I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble." — what he reportedly said to his subjects.

"Have I played the part well? Then applaud me as I exit." — what he reportedly said to his friends who were with him throughout his reign.

Source: History

Leonardo da Vinci, inventor and painter:

"I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have."

Source: Huffington Post

Groucho Marx, comedian and film star:


"This is no way to live!"

Source: "World Play: A cornucopia of puns, anagrams and other contortions and curiosities of the English language" by Gyles Brandreth

Joe DiMaggio, baseball player:

"I finally get to see Marilyn."

Source: ABC News

Napoléon Bonaparte, French military and political leader:

"France, the army, the head of the army, Joséphine."

Source: The Guardian

Humphrey Bogart, actor:

"I should never have switched from scotch to martinis."

Source: International Business Times

Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory:

"I am not the least afraid to die."

Source: "Famous Last Words" by Laura Ward

Marie Antoinette, queen of France:


"Pardon me. I didn't do it on purpose."

She reportedly said this after accidentally stepping on her executioner's foot as she climbed the scaffold to the guillotine.

Source: "Famous Last Words" by Alan Bisbort

Michel de Nostradamus, French apothecary and alleged soothsayer:

"You will not find me alive at sunrise."

In other words, Nostradamus' last words were one last (correct) prediction.

Source: "Immortal Last Words" by Terry Breverton

Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist:

"I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring."

Source: "The Power of Personality" by Sylvia Loehken

John Adams, second president of the US:


"Thomas Jefferson survives."

Adams and Thomas Jefferson started out as rivals, but they became friends later in life. As Adams lay on his deathbed, on July 4, he reportedly noted that his former nemesis was still alive.

However, Jefferson had actually died some hours earlier — also on July 4.

Source: History

Thomas Edison, inventor and businessman:

"It is very beautiful out there."

Right before his death, Edison came out of a coma, opened his eyes, and reportedly said the above quote to his wife. He was likely referring to the view outside his window.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, "Famous Last Words" by Laura Ward

Raphael, painter from the Italian Renaissance:

"Happy —"

A close friend of Raphael's, Cardinal Bibbiena, wrote in a letter to his niece that Raphael woke up, looked around, and then asked "Whence comes the sunshine?" He appeared not to hear what his friends said when they spoke to him, and then uttered "Happy..." — but did not finish the sentence.

Source: "The Last Words (Real and Traditional) of Distinguished Men and Women" by Frederic Rowland Marvin.

James Brown, singer and songwriter:


"I'm going away tonight."

Source: The Guardian

Ludwig van Beethoven, composer and pianist:

There are a variety of reports regarding Beethoven's last words. Some say the composer, who was deaf by the end of his life, said:

"I will hear in heaven"

while others suggest he said:

"Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est" (Applaud, friends, the comedy is finished)

But still others say that after a publisher brought the composer 12 bottles of wine, his final words were:

"Pity, pity, too late!"

Sources: "The Creative Circle" by Michael Fitzgerald, "Beethoven: The Man Revealed" by John Suchet, Classic FM

Leonard Nimoy, actor:


"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP."

Technically, this was Leonard Nimoy's last tweet, so they may not be his actual last words.

LLAP is short for "Live long and prosper," a saying made famous by Nimoy's "Star Trek" character Mr. Spock.

Source: Twitter

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