Deaths in History on December 15

  • 1025 Basilius II, the Bulgarendoder, Byzantine emperor (976-1025), dies
  • 1230 Ottokar I, king of Bohemia (1197-1230), dies

Selim IISelim II (1524-1574)

11th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1566-74), dies of head injury after a fall at 50

  • 1576 Joachim Hopperus, Frisian lawyer and politician, dies at 53
  • 1598 Philip van Marnix, Flemish ruler of St Aldegonde/poet, dies at 58
  • 1621 Charles d'Albert, duc of Luynes, French courtier, favourite of Louis XIII and Constable of France, dies at 43
  • 1626 Adriaen de Vries, Dutch sculptor/painter, dies at about 70
  • 1673 Margaret Cavendish, English poet, playwright and philosopher (early science fiction work The Blazing World), dies at about 50

Jan VermeerJan Vermeer (1632-1675)

Dutch painter (Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Astronomer), dies at 43

  • 1683 Izaak Walton, English biographer and author (The Compleat Angler), dies at 90
  • 1688 Gaspar Fagel, Dutch lawyer, Netherlands grand pensionary (1672-88), dies at 54
  • 1699 Henrik A van Reede tot Drakenstein, Dutch botanist, dies at about 63
  • 1712 Sidney 1st earl of Godolphine, English minister of Finance, dies at 67
  • 1715 George Hickes, English linguist (Old German Philology), dies at 73
  • 1753 Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, English Palladian architect (Burlington House), dies at 59

Anthony WayneAnthony Wayne (1745-1796)

American Military Leader (Legion of the United States), dies of gout at 51

  • 1816 Charles Stanhope, 3rd earl Stanhope, English radical politician and scientist, dies at 63
  • 1817 Maria Walewska [Leszczinska], Polish lover of Emperor Napoleon I, dies at 31
  • 1826 William Browser, American slave, executed in NYC for participating in the murder of two ship's officers during a slave revolt on board the Decatur
  • 1831 Paulus Roelof Cantz'laar, Dutch naval officer and colonial governor, dies at 60
  • 1839 Matthijs I van Bree, Flemish court-painter, dies at 66
  • 1855 Jacques Charles François Sturm, French mathematician (b. 1803)
  • 1880 Carlo Boncompagni di Mombello, Italian minister of Justice, dies at 76
  • 1885 Ferdinand II, German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry and King of Portugal (1837-53), dies at 69
  • 1885 Robert Toombs, American lawyer and 1st Confederate States Secretary of State, dies at 75

Sitting BullSitting Bull (c. 1831-1890)

Hunkpapa-Sioux chief who helped led his people to victory in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, killed by US Police aged 58 or 59

  • 1896 John GR Acquoy, Dutch theologian and church historian, dies at 67
  • 1924 T. Frank Appleby, American politician (U.S. House of Representatives - (R) New Jersey, 1921-23), dies at 60
  • 1934 Maggie L. Walker, African-American teacher and businesswoman (1st female Bank President), dies at 69
  • 1946 Konrad Haebler, German historian (Hundert Kalenderinkunabeln), dies at 89
  • 1947 Arthur Machen, Welsh author (b. 1863)

Sardar PatelSardar Patel (1875-1950)

Indian freedom fighter and statesman, dies at 75

  • 1951 Eric Drummond, British 1st Secretary-General of the League of Nations (1919-33), dies at 75
  • 1952 Potti Sreeramulu, Indian revolutionary known as the Father of Andhra for conducting a 56 day hunger strike in support of a separate Telugu-speaking state, fasts to death at 51, sparking rioting and 3 days later Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to declare an intention to form Andhra Pradesh state
  • 1958 Wolfgang Pauli, Swiss-American theoretical physicist (Pauli inhibition, Nobel 1945), dies at 58
  • 1968 Antonio J. Barrette, French Canadian politician, premier of Quebec, dies at 69
  • 1971 Paul Pierre Lévy, French mathematician (b. 1886)
  • 1977 Wilfred Kitching, English, 7th General of The Salvation Army (b. 1893)
  • 1980 Rudolph Cleveringa, Dutch anti-nazi lawyer and professor of Law at Leiden University, dies at 86
  • 1984 Frank Spedding, Canadian chemist whose uranium extraction process helped make possible the first atomic bomb, dies at 82
  • 1985 Forrest C. Shaklee, American chiropractor and founder (Shaklee Products), dies at 91
  • 1987 Septima Poinsette Clark, American educator and civil rights activist, dies at 89
  • 1994 Henry Phelps Brown, British historian and economist, dies at 88
  • 1995 Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado, Deputy Prime Minister of Spain (1976-81) and Minister of Defense (1977-79), dies at 83
  • 1996 Gerald Moverley, first Bishop of the Diocese of Hallam in Yorkshire, dies at 74
  • 1996 Guiseppe Dossetti, Italian politician (drafted Italian constitution) and priest, dies at 83
  • 1996 Harry Kemelman, American detective author (rabbi-omnibus), dies at 88
  • 1997 Pananayiotis Taki Vatikiotis, Middle Eastern scholar, dies at 69
  • 2003 George Fisher, American political cartoonist (b. 1923)
  • 2004 Pauline Gore, mother of Al Gore (b. 1912)
  • 2005 Heinrich Gross, Austrian physician (b. 1914)
  • 2005 William Proxmire, American politician (Sen-D-WI, 1957-88), dies at 90
  • 2007 Julia Carson, American politician (Rep Indiana (D) 1997-2007), dies of lung cancer at 69 [1]
  • 2008 Geraldine McCullough, American painter and sculptor (Phoenix), dies at 91
  • 2008 León Febres Cordero, Ecuadorian politician (President of Ecuador 1984-88), dies at 77
  • 2009 Oral Roberts, American television evangelist and author (b. 1918)
  • 2010 Eugene Victor Wolfenstein, American political scientist (b. 1940)

Christopher HitchensChristopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

English author and journalist (Vanity Fair, New Statesman), dies of oesophageal cancer aged 62

  • 2013 Harold Camping, American evangelist and founder of Family Radio, dies at 92
  • 2017 Don Hogan Charles, American photographer and first African-American photographer hired by The New York Times, dies at 79
  • 2021 Bell Hooks [Gloria Jean Watkins], American author, feminist, educator, and social activist, dies of kidney failure at 69