Deaths in History on December 31

Person of interestCommodus

192 Commodus, Emperor of Rome (180-192), murdered at 31

Roman Emperor Commodus
Roman Emperor
Commodus
  • 335 St. Silvester I, Catholic Pope, dies in office
  • 406 Godigisel, King of the Vandals, dies in battle
  • 439 Melania the Younger, Roman monastery founder/saint, dies at about 56
  • 1164 Margrave Ottokar III of Styria (b. 1124)
  • 1194 Duke Leopold V of Austria (killed at a tournament) (b. 1157)
  • 1297 Humphrey de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford, English soldier (b. 1249)
  • 1302 Frederick III, Duke of Lorraine (b. 1238)
  • 1382 Daigaku, Zen teacher/46th head of Engakuji, dies in Kamakura Japan
  • 1384 John Wycliffe, English religious reformer/bible translator, dies
  • 1424 Thomas Beaufort, 1st Duke of Exeter, English military leader
  • 1460 Edmund, Earl of Rutland, brother of Kings Edward IV of England and Richard III of England (executed) (b. 1443)
  • 1460 Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, English politician (b. 1400)
  • 1510 Bianca Maria Sforza, wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, dies at 38
  • 1535 William Skeffington, Lord Deputy of Ireland (b. 1465)
  • 1568 Shimazu Tadayoshi, Japanese warlord, dies at 75

  • 1575 Pierino Belli, Italian soldier and jurist (b. 1502)
  • 1583 Thomas Erastus, Swiss physician and theologist, dies at 59
  • 1610 Ludolph van Ceulen, German mathematician (b. 1540)
  • 1616 Jacques Le Maire, pirate/explorer (Lemaire Strait), dies at 31
  • 1650 Dorgon, Chinese emperor (b. 1612)
  • 1652 Frances Cecil, 2nd wife of English earl of Shaftesbury, dies
  • 1673 Oliver St John, English statesman and judge
  • 1679 Giovanni Alfonso Borelli, Italian physiologist and physicist (b. 1608)
  • 1691 Dudley North, English economist (b. 1641)
  • 1719 John Flamsteed, 1st Astronomer Royal, dies at 73
  • 1733 Hubert K Poot, Dutch poet (Akkerleven), dies at 44
  • 1742 Karl III Philip, Elector Palatine (b. 1661)
  • 1775 Richard Montgomery, General in Continental Army during American Revolutionary War, dies in attack on Quebec
  • 1799 Jean-François Marmontel, French historian and writer, dies at 76
  • 1802 Francis Lewis, Welsh/US merchant/signer (Declaration of Independence), dies at 89
  • 1862 James Edward Rains, American lawyer and Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies in Battle of Stone's River at 29
  • 1862 Joshua Woodrow Sill, US Union brigadier general, dies in Battle of Stone's River at 31
  • 1864 George Mifflin Dallas, American politician (11th Vice President of the United States) and United States Minister to Russia, dies at 72
  • 1872 Aleksis Kivi, Finnish writer and poet (Kanervala), dies at 38
  • 1877 JD Gustave Courbet, French painter (Baigneuses), dies at 58
  • 1880 Arnold Ruge, German political philosopher and writer, dies at 78
  • 1882 Leon Michel Gambetta, French attorney and 37th Prime Minister of France (1881-82), dies at 44
  • 1888 Samson Raphael Hirsch, German rabbi (b. 1808)
  • 1889 Ion Creanga, Romanian (fairy tales) author, dies at 52
  • 1890 Pancha Carrasco, Costa Rican war heroine (b. 1826)

  • 1893 Jacob Gijsbert de Hoop Scheffer, Dutch vicar and theologian, dies at 74
  • 1894 Thomas J Stieltjes, mathematician (Stieltjes-integral), dies at 38
  • 1907 Jules de Trooz, Belgium PM, dies at 63
  • 1910 John Moisant, American aviator (b. 1868)
  • 1910 Archibald Hoxsey, American pioneer aviator (worked for the Wright brothers), dies at 26
  • 1910 John Bevins Moisant, American pioneer aviator, first to cross English Channel with passenger and a cat, killed in New Orleans whose present day airport was originally name for him, dies at 42
  • 1920 Albert Roelofs, Dutch painter/etcher, dies at 43
  • 1921 Boies Penrose, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania (b. 1860)
  • 1936 Miguel de Unamuno Jugo, Span philosopher/poet (Cancionero), dies at 72
  • 1936 William FA Ellison, Irish clergyman/astronomer, dies at 72
  • 1938 Richard Nicolaas Roland Holst, Dutch artist and painter, dies at 70
  • 1947 Franz X Ritter von Epp, German General (SW Africa), dies at 79
  • 1950 Karl Renner, Austrian President (1918-20, 45-50), dies at 80
  • 1951 Maxim M Litvinov, [Meyer H Wallach], Russian diplomat, dies at 75
  • 1951 Philipp A Kohnstamm, Dutch philosopher/physicist, dies at 76
  • 1953 Albert Plesman, Dutch aviation pioneer and founder (KLM), dies at 64
  • 1964 Ólafur Thors, Icelandic Prime Minister (5 times between 1942-63), dies at 72
  • 1966 Pieter Geyl, Dutch historian (History of the Dutch Race), dies at 79
  • 1971 Vikram Sarabhai, Indian physicist (b. 1919)
  • 1977 Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, ruler of Kuwait (b. 1924)

Person of interestMarshall McLuhan

1980 Marshall McLuhan, Canadian cultural philosopher, dies at 69

Philosopher of Communication Theory Marshall McLuhan
Philosopher of Communication Theory
Marshall McLuhan
  • 1980 Raoul Walsh, US director (High Sierra), dies at about 88
  • 1985 Sam Spiegel, Academy Award winning producer (Betrayal), dies at 84
  • 1987 [Gordon] Randall [P D] Garrett, author (Lord Darcy), dies at 60
  • 1990 Vasily Grigoryevich Lazarev, cosmonaut (Soyuz 12, 18A), dies at 62
  • 1993 Lambert Fokkema, founder Dutch Export Combination, dies at 80
  • 1993 Thomas J. Watson Jr., American businessman and politician (President of IBM, 1952-1971, US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1979-1981), dies of a stroke at 79
  • 1993 Zviad Gamsachurdia, President of Georgia SSR (1991-1993), suicide at 54
  • 1993 Brandon Teena, American trans man and hate crime victim, murdered at 21
  • 1994 BAM "Bob" Schreiner, airline owner (S Aviation Group), dies at 79
  • 1994 Harri Webb, Welsh poet and nationalist, dies at 74
  • 1994 Leigh Bowery, designer, dies at 33
  • 1995 Calvin/Hobbes, (comic strip), dies
  • 1995 John Powell, campaigner, dies at 75
  • 1996 61 law enforcement officers, killed by felons in US this year
  • 1996 Ann Susan Hills, freelance journalist, dies at 55
  • 1996 Michael Roberts, historian, dies at 88
  • 1996 Phillip Edmund Clinton Manson-Bahr, tropical mediciner, dies at 85
  • 1997 76 law enforcement officers, killed by felons in US this year
  • 1997 Dominique de Menil, arts patron/human rights advocate, dies at 89
  • 1997 Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, dies in ski accident at 39
  • 1999 Elliot Richardson, American politician (b. 1920)
  • 2000 Alan Cranston, American politician (b. 1914)
  • 2003 Arthur R. von Hippel German-born physicist (b. 1898)
  • 2004 Gérard Debreu, French-American economist (Nobel 1983), dies at 83
  • 2005 Phillip Whitehead, British politician (b. 1937)
  • 2007 Michael Goldberg, American painter (b. 1924)
  • 2007 Milton L. Klein, Canadian politician (b. 1910)
  • 2007 Ettore Sottsass, Italian architect and designer (b. 1917)
  • 2008 Donald E. Westlake, American author (The Hunter), dies at 75