Deaths in History on December 16

  • 705 Wu Zetian, Chinese Empress (690-705) - only woman to rule China (b. 625)
  • 714 Pepin/Pippin II, of Herstal/Héristal, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia and Duke and Prince of the Franks, dies
  • 867 Eberhard of Friuli, Frankish Duke and catholic saint, dies at about 51
  • 875 Ado of Vienne, French archbishop of Vienne, dies at about 75
  • 882 John VIII, Italian Pope (872-82), dies
  • 999 Saint Adelaide, Holy Roman Empress, wife of Emperor Otto I and regent to Otto II, dies at about 68
  • 1263 Haakon IV, King of Norway (1217-63), dies at 59
  • 1325 Charles, Count of Valois (1284-1325), son of King Philip III of France, founder of the French royal house of Valois, dies at 55
  • 1378 Secondotto [Otto], Margrave of Montferrat (1372-78)
  • 1379 John Fitzalan, Marshal of England
  • 1404 Albrecht of Bavaria, duke of Bavaria, dies at about 74
  • 1470 John II, Duke of Lorraine (b. 1425)
  • 1598 Yi Sun-sin, Korean Naval Commander, shot at the naval Battle of Noryang at 53
  • 1669 Nathaniel Fiennes, English politician (b. circa 1608)
  • 1670 Dorothy, 1st English marquis of Halifax, dies
  • 1672 John II Casimir Vasa [Jan Kazimierz], King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1648-68), dies at 63
  • 1687 William Petty, English political economist and statistician (Treatise of Taxes and Contributions), dies at 64
  • 1719 Adrian "Aart" van Wijck, Dutch theologist (anti-jansenism), dies at 78
  • 1751 Leopold II of Anhalt-Dessau, Prussian general (b. 1700)
  • 1765 Peter Frederick Haldimand, Swiss military officer and surveyor
  • 1774 Francois Quesnay, French personal physician of Louis XIV, dies at 80
  • 1783 Sir William James, British naval commander (b. 1720)
  • 1783 Yoriyuki Arima, Japanese mathematician (approximated the value of pi and its square, pi^2), dies at 68
  • 1798 Thomas Pennant, Welsh naturalist, dies at 72
  • 1809 Antoine François, comte de Fourcroy, French chemist (b. 1755)
  • 1852 Andries H Potgieter, South African/Transvaal explorer, dies at 59
  • 1858 Richard Bright, English physician (Bright's disease/nephritis), dies at 69

Wilhelm GrimmWilhelm Grimm (1786-1859)

German story teller (Grimm's Fairy Tales), dies at 73

  • 1871 Willibald Alexis, German writer (Schloss Avalon), dies at 73
  • 1874 Abraham Capadose, Dutch physician and missionary, dies at 79
  • 1897 Alphonse Daudet, French writer (Tartarin sur les Alpes), dies at 57
  • 1898 Pavel Tretyakov, Russian businessman and art collector, dies at 65
  • 1916 Friedrich Ernst Dorn, German physicist who discovered that radon is emitted from radium, dies at 68
  • 1920 Ma Yuanzhang, Chinese Muslim rebel and Sufi master, crushed to death during the 1920 Haiyuan earthquake at an unknown age
  • 1922 Gabriel Narutowicz, 1st President of Poland (Dec 7-16, 1922), assassinated
  • 1928 Elinor Wylie, American poet and writer (b. 1885)
  • 1931 Gustave J Waffelaert, Flemish theologist and bishop of Bruges, dies at 82
  • 1940 M Eugene F T Dubois, geologist/paleontologist (Wadjakmens), dies
  • 1944 Elisabeth ten Boom dies at 59
  • 1945 Fumimaro Konu, Japanese prince and politician (Prime Minister of Japan 1937-39, 40-41), commits suicide at 54
  • 1945 Giovanni Agnelli, Italian businessman and founder of Fiat, dies at 79
  • 1949 Traitsjo Kostov, Bulgarian communist vice-premier, executed by the state at 52
  • 1951 Dorothy Dix [Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer], American journalist and columnist, dies at 81
  • 1956 Nina Hamnett, Welsh artist and writer, dies at 66
  • 1965 William Somerset Maugham, English author (Razor's Edge), dies at 91
  • 1974 Kostas Varnalis, Greek poet, dies at 90
  • 1976 George, a goose that lived to 49 years 8 months, dies
  • 1976 Réal Caouette, French Canadian politician (Social Credit Party of Canada), dies at 59

Colonel SandersColonel Sanders (1890-1980)

American founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, dies at 90

  • 1980 Hellmuth Walter, German engineer and inventor (b. 1900)
  • 1982 Colin Chapman, English engineer and automobile manufacturer, founder of Lotus Cars, dies at 54
  • 1983 Kusan Sunim, found Milae Sa temple/Bulsung Sa Zen in Korea, dies at 74
  • 1985 Paul Castellano, American organized-crime chief, shot dead at a NYC restaurant at 70
  • 1985 Thomas Bilotti, American mafioso (b. 1940)
  • 1987 Albert P. Morano, American politician (Rep-R-Conn, 1951-59), dies at 79
  • 1990 Douglas Campbell, American aviator and World War I flying ace, dies at 94
  • 1992 Anton [Tom] Koolhaas, Dutch writer (Gekke Witte), dies at 80
  • 1993 Bentri Seddik, Algerian court judge, murdered at 46
  • 1993 Charizma, American Hip-Hop MC (b. 1973)
  • 1993 Kakuei Tanaka, Japanese Prime Minister (1972-74), convicted of bribe-taking, dies at 75
  • 1993 Ratu Penaia Ganilau, president of Fiji (1987-93), dies at 75
  • 1993 Richard AFM Auwerda, Dutch journalist/writer (Volkskrant), dies at 68
  • 1994 Mary Durack, Australian author and historian (Kings in Grass Castles and Keep Him My Country), dies at 81
  • 1995 Johnny Moss, American poker player (b. 1907)
  • 1996 Jean-Pierre Levy, French resistance leader during WWII, dies at 85
  • 1996 Joe Coral [Joseph Kagarlitski], British bookmaker (Gala Coral Group), dies at 92
  • 1996 Laurens Jan van der Post, South African writer, explorer and conservationist, dies at 90
  • 1996 Quentin Bell, artist author/teacher, dies at 86
  • 1998 William Gaddis, American writer (b. 1922)
  • 2001 Stefan Heym, German-American author (Crusaders, Family Benda), dies at 88
  • 2003 Robert Stanfield, Premier of Nova Scotia (b. 1914)
  • 2004 Agnes Martin, Canadian American abstract painter dies aged 92
  • 2004 Peter Coker, English painter, dies at 78
  • 2005 Kenneth Bulmer, English author (b. 1921)
  • 2009 Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, controversial South African Health Minister (b. 1940)
  • 2009 Yegor Gaidar, Russian politician (b. 1956)
  • 2010 Mary Jane Odell, American politician and journalist, Iowa Secretary of State, dies at 87
  • 2010 Melvin E. Biddle, American soldier and Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1923)
  • 2018 Colin Kroll, American co-founder of Vine and HQ Trivia, dies of a drug overdose at 34
  • 2018 John Ford Noonan, American playwright (A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking), dies at 77
  • 2018 Oribe Canales, Cuban American celebrity hairdresser, dies of cancer at 62
  • 2018 Robin Clark, New Zealand-born chemist (early transition metals and highly coordinated complexes), dies at 83