Notable Suicide Notes

A person’s last words are a special form of quotation and suicide notes are a special form of last words.

Not everyone has the opportunity to compose their last words but suicide notes are generally considered in advance, albeit at a time that the author wasn’t in their normal state on mind.

Many suicides leave a note. Here’s a list of some notable examples.

Famous Last Words – A Select List

Clara Blandick

American Actress, died April 15, 1962.

Blandick was 85 at the time of her death and suffering chronic poor health.

“I am now about to make the great adventure. I cannot endure this agonizing pain any longer. It is all over my body. Neither can I face the impending blindness. I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.”

Nicolas-Sebastien Chamfort

French writer, died 1794

Killed himself just before being arrested in Paris. His last words were spoken to Abbe Sieyès.

“And so I leave this world, where the heart must either break or turn to lead.”

Chris Chubbuck

American news reporter, died July 15, 1974

Chubbuck shot herself in the head during a live television broadcast.

“And now, in keeping with Channel 40’s policy of always bringing you the latest in blood and guts, in living color, you’re about to see another first – an attempted suicide.”

Kurt Cobain

Rock musician, died April 8, 1994

In a note meant for his family, but addressed to his imaginary childhood friend ‘Boddah’.

“Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your altar. Please keep going Courtney, for Frances for her life will be so much happier without me. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU.”

Hart Crane

Poet, died April 27, 1932

Called out as he jumped off the steamship Orizaba.

“Goodbye, everybody”

George Eastman

Inventor, died March 14, 1932

During his lifetime, Eastman gave away over $100 million to various educational and cultural institutions.

In his later years he suffered from a painful and incurable spinal disease.

“To my friends: My work is done. Why wait? G. E.”

Sergei Esenin

Russian poet, died 1925

Written in his own blood, and given to a friend the day before he hanged himself.

“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.”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

American writer, died 1935.

An advocate for the right-to-die, Gilman committed suicide by taking an overdose of chloroform.

“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. I have preferred chloroform over cancer.”

Tony Hancock

English comedian, died June 24 1968

A depressive personality, Hancock found life in the show business spotlight difficult. Fellow comedian Spike Milligan said of him “He ended up on his own. I thought, he’s got rid of everybody else, he’s going to get rid of himself and he did.”

“Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times.”

Jon-Erik Hexum

Actor, died October 18, 1984

Accidental suicide as he shot himself with a prop gun on the set of US television spy show Cover Up.

“Let’s see if I get myself with this one.”

Adolf Hitler

German political and military leader, died April 29 1945

Hitler committed suicide, with is wife Eva Braun, in an underground bunker in Berlin.

The last lines of Hitler’s personal testament are:

“I myself and my wife – in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation – choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of a twelve years’ service to my people.”

Robert E. Howard

American writer, died June 11, 1936

Howard’s suicide note was a paraphrase of Viola Garvin’s poem The House of Caesar.

“All fled – all done, so lift me on the pyre;

The feast is over, and the lamps expire.”

Terry Kath

Rock musician, died January 23, 1978

Spoken to a friend who had asked him to stop putting the gun to his head and snapping the trigger.

“Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.”

Heinrich von Kleist

German writer and dramatist, died 1811

Kleist died in a suicide pact with a young woman friend, who was suffering from cancer. He addressed a suicide note to his sister.

“I cannot die without, contented and serene as I am, reconciling myself with all the world – before all others – with you, my dearest Ulrike. Give up the strong expressions which you resorted to in your letter to me: let me revoke them; truly, to save me, you have done all within the strength, not only of a sister, but of a man – all that could be done. The truth is, nothing on earth can help me. And now good-bye: may Heaven send you a death even half equal to mine in joy and unutterable bliss: that is the most heart-felt and profoundest wish that I can think of for you. Your Henry. Stimmung, at Potsdam, on the morning of my death.”

Vachel Lindsay

American poet, died December 4, 1931

Committed suicide by drinking disinfectant taken from his kitchen cupboard.

“They tried to get me – I got them first!”

Yukio Mishima

Japanese novelist and poet (pen name, Kimitake Hiraoka), died 1970

Mishima committed ritual suicide after failing to persuade the Japanese military to overthrow the civilian government.

He shouted his last words from a balcony, went inside, said to a companion “I don’t think they even heard me” and disembowelled himself.

“Tenno Heika banzai!” (Long live His imperial Majesty).

Sylvia Plath

American poet and novelist, died February 11, 1963

Plath was found dead with her head in a gas oven, at her home in Primrose Hill, London.

The nature of her note has led some to suggest that she didn’t intend to kill herself but that her actions were a call for help.

“Call Dr. Horder.”

Freddie Prinze

American actor/comedian, died January 29, 1977

Shot himself in the head in front of his business manager, while under the influence of prescription drugs.

“I must end it. There’s no hope left. I’ll be at peace. No one had anything to do with this. My decision totally.”

George Sanders

British actor, died April 25, 1972

Checked into a small in a hotel in Barcelona, wrote a short suicide note and took an overdose of barbiturates.

“Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.”

Sara Teasdale

American poet, died 1933

Some sources state that the poem I Shall Not Care was written as a suicide note to her lover who had left her. That’s not the case – the poem was published 18 years earlier. However, Teasdale did commit suicide by taking and overdose of sleeping pills and, had she chosen to use it, the poem would have made a fitting last note.

When I am dead, and over me bright April

Shakes out her rain drenched hair,

Tho you should lean above me broken hearted,

I shall not care.

For I shall have peace.

As leafey trees are peaceful

When rain bends down the bough.

And I shall be more silent and cold hearted

Than you are now.

Hunter S. Thompson

American author, died 20 February, 2005

Thompson left the “Football Season Is Over” note for his wife, Anita. He shot himself four days later at home.

The writer’s ashes were launched into the sky in Woody Creek, Colorado, at Thompson’s request.

“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.”

More on the last words of Hunter S. Thompson

Lupe Velez

Mexican born American actress, died December 13, 1944

Velez, who was divorced and pregnant, left a note for actor Harald Maresch.

“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 killing him, Lupe.”

James Whale

English film director, died May 29, 1957

Whale drowned himself in his backyard swimming pool. The contents of his note, left for his partner, weren’t disclosed until 1987.

“The future is just old age and illness and pain… I must have peace and this is the only way.”

Wendy Orlean Williams

Punk rock performer, died April 6, 1998

The lead singer of the punk band Plasmatics shot herself after leaving the last of several suicide notes.

“The act of taking my own life is not something that I do without a lot of thought. I don’t believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time. I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights anyone in a free society should have. For me much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and to a place where there is no self, only calm. Love always, Wendy.”

Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie)

English punk musician, died February 2 1979

Vicious, who had recently discharged himself from hospital where he was undergoing a methadone detoxification programme, died from a heroin overdose. His mother found his apparent suicide note in a jacket. It is thought to refer to his recently deceased girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

“We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.”

Virginia Woolf

English author, died March 28, 1941

Woolf had had a mental breakdown years earlier, which she feared was about to recur. She committed suicide by drowning in the River Ouse, Sussex.

She left the suicide note on the mantelpiece of her home, for her husband.

“Dearest, I feel certain that I’m 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 to be 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 until this terrible disease came. I can’t fight it 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 in 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 you life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.”

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.