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The last words of famous people...

The last words of famous people.

Dying words are a very special form of quotation. Some are rehearsed and contrived; others are spontaneous and witty.

'Famous last words' may be in the form of epitaphs, letters or even suicide notes, but are often impromptu sayings coined by and spoken by the dying person for the first (and, of course, last) time on their deathbed.

The list below gives us a glimpse into the character of the celebrated individuals who uttered their famous last words before expiring.

Famous Last Words - A Select List

John Quincy Adams
This is the last of earth. I am content.
Said when he collapsed after a stroke in the US Senate.
Jane Austen
I want nothing but death.
Said to her sister Cassandra on her deathbed.
Sir Francis Bacon
For my name and memory, I leave it to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and the next ages.
The last lines in his will (his spoken last words are uncertain).
Lucille Ball
My Florida water.
Said when asked if there was anything she wanted.
P. T. Barnum
Nancy, I want you to know my last thoughts are of you.
Said to his wife a few hours before he died.
Todd Beamer
(1968- 2001)
Let's roll.
Overheard on an open phone line just before attempting to regain control of the hijacked Flight 93 on 9/11.
John Belushi
Just don't leave me alone.
Said after being injected with the Class A drugs that killed him.
More on the last words of John Belushi...
George Best
Don't die like I did.
Handwritten on a card by his hospital deathbed.
More on the last words of George Best...
Humphrey Bogart
Goodbye Kid. Hurry back.
Said to Lauren Bacall as she briefly left his bedside.
More on the last words of Humphrey Bogart...
David Bowie
Music has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.
Said to his friend Gary Oldman towards the end of his life.
More on the last words of David Bowie...
Buddha - Siddhattha Gautama
(circa 563 BC - circa 483 BC)
I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness.
Donald Campbell
Hallo, the bow is up… I'm going… I'm on my back… I've gone. Oh.
From a transcription of a radio message sent as his boat was crashing.
King Charles II
Let not poor Nelly starve.
Said in reference to Nell Gwynne, after the stroke from which he died.
Erskine Childers
Take a step forward, lads. It will be easier that way.
An encouragement to his firing squad.
Sir Winston Churchill
I'm bored with it all.
Spoken just before he slipped into a coma.
Kurt Cobain
It's better to burn out than to fade away.
Written in his suicide note.
Oliver Cromwell
It is not my design to drink or sleep. My design is to make what haste I can to be gone.
His response when offered a drink by a servant.
Salvador Dali

I do not believe in my death.
Not his final words but an affirmation of his belief in his own imortality.
My God. What's happened?
Spoken in the hearing of the paparazzi who had been following her car when it crashed.

Isadora Duncan

Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire. (Farewell, my friends. I go to glory.)
Said to her friends outside her hotel just vefore her fatal car crash.
King George V
Bugger Bognor!
His response when his doctor told him he would soon be well and able to visit Bognor Regis again.
Mehr Licht! (More light!)
A request that the windows shutters be opened, made 30 minutes before his death.
Henrik Ibsen
On the contrary.
His response when he heard a nurse tell a visitor that he was feeling better.
Michael Jackson
I love you more.
His reply to his choreographer's shout of "I love you" to Jackson as he left a rehearsal in London, on the day he died.
Steve Jobs
Oh wow.
Repeated three times after a long last look at his family.
Stan Laurel
I'd rather be skiing.
His response when having his last injection.
John Lennon
I'm shot.
Repeated twice as he was shot outside his apartment building in New York.
Spike Milligan
I told you I was ill.
The epitaph (translated form the Gaelic) that he requested for his gravestone.
Luciano Pavarotti
I believe that a life lived for music is an existence spent wonderfully, and this is what I have dedicated my life to.
A prepared statement givenn to his manager just before he died.
Elvis Presley
(1935 - 1977)
I hope I haven't bored you.
Said to the audience at his final concert.
They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.
Said to his men who were ducking from the fire of a Confederate sniper.
Frank Sinatra
I'm losing it.
Spoken to his wife who was at his bedside when he died.
Relax - This won't hurt.
The final line of his suicide note.
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Tell them I've had a wonderful life.
A message he wanted passed to friends who were due to visit him the following day.

© Gary Martin, 2019