Deaths in History on February 17

  • 364 Jovian (Flavius Jovianus), Christian emperor of Rome (363-64), dies at about 32
  • 440 St. Mesrop Mashtots, Armenian monk, theologian and linguist known for inventing the Armenian alphabet in c. 405 AD, dies (b. 361/362)
  • 1339 Otto, Duke of Austria and Styria, dies at 37
  • 1371 Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria, Emperor of Bulgaria (1331-1371)
  • 1596 Friedrich Sylburg, German classical scholar (b. 1536)
  • 1600 Giordano Bruno, Italian friar and scholar, advocate of Copernican theory, burned at the stake at 51 or 52
  • 1609 Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, dies at 59
  • 1612 Ernest of Bavaria, Prince-elector-archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne, dies at 57
  • 1612 Jodocus Hondius, Flemish cartoonist and mathematician, dies at 48
  • 1624 Juan de Mariana, Spanish historian (b. 1536)
  • 1659 Abel Servien, French diplomat (b. 1593)
  • 1673 Molière [Jean Baptiste Poquelin], French playwright (The Misanthrope), dies of pulmonary tuberculosis at 51
  • 1680 Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, English statesman and writer, dies at 81
  • 1680 Jan Swammerdam, Dutch anatomist and entomologist (Bible of Nature), dies at 43
  • 1688 Rev James Renwick, hanged in Scotland for being a Presbyterian
  • 1694 Antoinette du Ligier de la Guard Deshoulieres, French poet and literary figure, dies at 56
  • 1715 Antoine Galland, French orientalist and archaeologist, dies at 68
  • 1768 Arthur Onslow, English politician (Speaker of the House of Commons 1728-61), dies at 76
  • 1780 Andreas Felix von Oefele, German historian and librarian, dies at 73
  • 1796 James Macpherson, Scottish writer and poet, dies at 59
  • 1827 Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Swiss educator (Leonard & Gertrude), dies at 81
  • 1847 William Collins, English landscape painter, dies at 58
  • 1852 Micha Joseph Levenson, Hebrew poet, dies
  • 1854 Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais, French Catholic priest and writer (L'avenir), dies at 71
  • 1854 John Martin, English painter and engraver, dies at 64
  • 1872 José Burgos, Filipino Catholic priest (advocated for greater Filipino self-determination), executed at 35
  • 1874 Adolphe Quetelet, Belgian astronomer, mathematician and sociologist (body mass index scale), dies at 77
  • 1875 Luis NF Varela, Brazilian romantic poet, dies at 33
  • 1878 José Amador de los Ríos, Spanish historian and poet, dies at 59
  • 1883 Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, Indian independence activist and revolutionary, dies at 37

Christopher Latham SholesChristopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890)

American newspaper man, politician and inventor of the typewriter, dies of tuberculosis at 71

  • 1905 Serge Alexandrovich, Governor-General of Moscow, assassinated by a terrorist bomb; his carriage driver also died, the assailant survived, was tried and hanged
  • 1907 Henry Steel Olcott, American military officer and co-founder of the Theosophical Society, dies at 74

GeronimoGeronimo (1829-1909)

Apache leader and resistance fighter, dies at 79

  • 1912 Alois Lexa von Aehrenthal, Austrian diplomat (Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary 1906-12), dies at 57
  • 1912 Edgar Evans, Welsh explorer (part of Robert Scott's Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica), dies attempting to return from the Pole at 35
  • 1917 Edmund Bishop, English Roman Catholic historian and Secretary of Thomas Carlyle, dies at 70

Wilfrid LaurierWilfrid Laurier (1841-1918)

7th Prime Minister of Canada (Liberal: 1896-1911), dies of a stroke at 76

Henry BaconHenry Bacon (1866-1924)

American architect (Lincoln Memorial), dies at 57

  • 1932 Franz Gailliard, Belgian painter and graphic artist (Egina), dies at 70
  • 1934 Albert I, King of Belgium (1909-34), dies at 58
  • 1936 Erich Schaeder, German theologist (Theozentrische), dies at 74
  • 1943 Konstantin Bogaevsky, Russian painter (b. 1872)
  • 1944 Fausto Agnelli, Swiss painter, dies at 64
  • 1954 Evert Gorter, Dutch children's pioneering paediatrician, dies at 72
  • 1958 Hugh McCrae, Australian writer and poet (Satyrs and Sunlight: Sylvarum Libri), dies at 81
  • 1966 Hans Hofmann, German American painter (Search for the Real), dies at 85
  • 1970 Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Jewish writer (Nobel Prize for Literature 1966), dies at 81
  • 1977 Janani Luwum, Ugandan Archbishop (b. 1922)
  • 1980 Graham Sutherland, English artist (official WWII war artist), dies at 76
  • 1986 Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher (Kingdom Happiness), dies at 90
  • 1990 Frans Kellendonk, Dutch writer (Good for Nothing), dies at 39
  • 1991 Enrique Bermudez, Nicaraguan commandant, founder of the Nicaraguan Contras, assassinated at 58
  • 1993 Alfredo de Leon, leader (Philippines Red Scorpio Gang), killed
  • 1994 Randy Shilts, American journalist (& the band played on), dies of AIDs at 41
  • 1995 Thelma Hulbert, English painter (Le Sacre du Printemps), dies at 81
  • 1996 Bentley Bridgewater, British Museum secretary, dies at 84
  • 1996 Hervé Bazin, French writer (Head Against the Wall), dies at 84
  • 1996 Michel Pablo [Michalis N. Raptis], Chilean-Greek writer and Trotskyist revolutionary (Fourth International), dies at 84
  • 1997 Zein Isa, Palestinian militant imprisoned in the United States for the honor killing of his daughter
  • 1998 Ernst Jünger, German author and entomologist (Storm of Steel), dies at 102
  • 2001 Khalid Abdul Muhammed, American Nation of Islam spokesman (b. 1948)
  • 2003 Frank Thistlethwaite, English academic and Vice Chancellor (University of East Anglia), dies at 87
  • 2004 José López Portillo, President of Mexico (1976-82), dies at 83
  • 2007 Jurga Ivanauskaitė, Lithuanian writer (b. 1961)
  • 2007 Maurice Papon, French Nazi collaborator, dies at 92
  • 2009 Conchita Cintrón, Chilean bullfighter (b. 1922)
  • 2011 Steve Horn, American politician (Rep-R-California 1993-2003), dies at 79
  • 2012 Ulric Neisser, American psychologist, dies at 83
  • 2017 Robert H. Michel, American politician (Rep-R-IL, 1957-95), dies at 93
  • 2018 Arno Motulsky, German-born founder of medical genetics, known as the "father of pharmacogenomics," dies at 94
  • 2021 Murray Weideman, Australian rules football CHF (Collingwood VFL premiers 1953, 58 [c]; B&F 1957, 61, 62; Victoria 1956-60) and coach (Collingwood 1975-76), dies at 85