Deaths in History on February 20

  • 702 K'inich Kan B'alam II, king of the Maya state of Palenque (b. 635)
  • 1054 Yaroslav I, the Wise, ruler of Kiev, dies
  • 1154 Saint Wulfric of Haselbury Plucknett
  • 1171 Conan IV, Duke of Brittany (b. 1138)
  • 1194 Tancredo of Lecce, King of Sicily, dies
  • 1258 Al-Musta'sim, last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, dies in the sack of Baghdad by being rolled up in a carpet and trampled to death
  • 1408 Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, English statesman, dies at 66
  • 1431 Pope Martin V [Oddo Colonna] dies, (b. 1368)
  • 1524 Tecún Umán, last leader of the Quiché-Maya
  • 1569 Mark van Vaernewijck, Flemish nobleman/politician, dies at 50
  • 1579 Nicholas Bacon, English politician (b. 1509)
  • 1595 Ernst, archduke of Austria, dies at 41
  • 1618 Philip William, Prince of Orange (1584) and Knight of the Golden Fleece (1599), dies at 63
  • 1667 David ben Samuel Halevi, rabbi/author (Shulchan Aruch), dies
  • 1737 Elizabeth Rowe, poet, dies
  • 1746 Guillaume Coustou Sr, French sculptor (Mary Leszczynska), dies at 68
  • 1762 Tobias Mayer, German astronomer, dies at 38
  • 1771 Jean Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, French geophysicist, dies at 92
  • 1773 Charles Emanuel III of Savoy, King of Sardinia, dies at 71
  • 1778 Laura Bassi, Italian physicist and scholar, dies at 66
  • 1779 Johannes Burman, Dutch botanist, plant author and physician, dies at 71
  • 1790 Joseph II, Emperor of Holy Roman Empire (1760-1790), dies at 48
  • 1806 Lachlan McIntosh, Scottish-born American military and political leader (b. 1725)
  • 1810 Andreas Hofer, Tyrolean innkeeper, drover and leader of the Tyrolean Rebellion against the revolutionary Napoleonic invasion during the War of the Fifth Coalition, executed at 42
  • 1824 Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien, Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars, dies at 63
  • 1848 Prince Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, dies from tuberculosis at 29
  • 1855 Joseph Hume, Scottish doctor and social reformer, dies at 78
  • 1860 Henry Drummond, English banker and religious leader, dies at 69
  • 1862 Francisco Balagtas, Filipino poet (Florante at Laura), dies at 73
  • 1871 Paul Kane, Irish-Canadian painter, dies at 60
  • 1892 Hermann Kopp, German chemist (Law of Kopp), dies at 74
  • 1893 P. G. T. Beauregard, American Confederate general (Hero of Sumter), dies at 74

Frederick DouglassFrederick Douglass (c. 1817/18-1895)

African-American abolitionist, lecturer and editor who was also an escaped slave, dies of a heart attack at 77

  • 1905 Jeremiah W. Farnham, American merchant captain

Henri MoissanHenri Moissan (1852-1907)

French chemist who isolated the element "fluorine" from its compounds (Nobel 1906), dies of appendicitis at 54

  • 1910 Boutros Ghali, Prime Minister of Egypt (1908-1910), assassinated by a nationalist at 64
  • 1916 Klas Arnoldson, Swedish politician and pacifist (Nobel Peace 1908), dies at 71
  • 1917 Leone Sextus Tollemache, British Army captain who was incorrectly alleged to have the longest English surname on record (Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraudatifilius Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache), dies in active service in WWI at 32

Robert PearyRobert Peary (1856-1920)

American arctic explorer who claimed to have 1st reached geographic North Pole (Apr 6 1909), dies at 63

  • 1928 Antonio Abetti, Italian astronomer, dies at 81
  • 1950 Sarat Chandra Bose, Indian activist for independence, dies at 60
  • 1959 Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina), dies at 93
  • 1960 Leonard Woolley, British pioneering archaeologist, dies at 79
  • 1961 Otto Huiswoud, Suriname-born political activist and editor-in-chief (Negro Worker), dies at 67

Chester NimitzChester Nimitz (1885-1966)

American admiral who commanded the US Pacific fleet in World War II, dies at 80

  • 1970 Café Filho, 18th Brazilian President (1954-1955), dies aged 71
  • 1970 Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist, dies at 84
  • 1972 Maria Goeppert-Mayer, American-German atomic physicist (Nobel 1963), dies at 65
  • 1972 Walter Winchell, American journalist, gossip columnist, radio host, and narrator (the Untouchables), dies at 74
  • 1973 Brigitte Reimann, German writer (Franziska Linkerhand), dies of cancer at 39
  • 1973 Joseph Szigeti, Hungarian violinist (Violinist Notebook 1933), dies at 80
  • 1976 Kathryn Kuhlman, religious leader/faith healer, dies
  • 1976 René Cassin, French jurist and judge (Nobel Peace Prize 1968), dies at 88
  • 1980 Alice Longworth Roosevelt, youngest daughter of Theodore, dies at 96
  • 1980 Joseph Banks Rhine, American parapsychologist (Extra-Sensory Perception), dies at 84
  • 1983 Fritz Köberle, Austrian-Brazilian physician, pathologistic, and scientific researcher, dies at 72
  • 1983 James G Richardson, (Tim Cassidy-Sierra), dies at 37 in ski accident
  • 1985 Clarence Nash, American voice actor (Donald Duck), dies of leukemia at 80
  • 1986 Koss Rietkerk, Dutch foreign minister (VVD), dies at 58
  • 1992 A. J. Casson, Canadian painter (member of Group of Seven), dies at 93
  • 1992 Eugene R. Black, American President of World Bank (1953-62), dies at 93
  • 1992 Roberto D'Aubuisson, El Salvadorian founder (ARENA), dies
  • 1993 Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian auto-designer (Lamborghini), dies at 76
  • 1994 Derek Jarman, English director (Last of England), dies at 52
  • 1995 John Humphreys Whitfield, British scholar of Italian language & literature, dies at 88
  • 1995 Shlomo Averbach, Rabbi, buried in Jerusalem, 250,000 attend
  • 1996 Jeffrey Kindersley Quill, British test pilot (Spitfire), dies at 83
  • 1996 Solomon Asch, American psychologist (b. 1907)
  • 1996 Walter Charles Marshall, scientist, dies at 63
  • 1999 Lotti van der Gaag, Dutch sculptor and painter, dies at 75
  • 1999 Sarah Kane, English playwright (b. 1971)
  • 2000 Anatoly Sobchak, Russian politician (b. 1937)
  • 2002 Stephen Longstreet, American writer (All or Nothing), dies at 94
  • 2003 Maurice Blanchot, French author (b. 1907)
  • 2003 Mushaf Ali Mir, Pakistani Chief of the Air Staff (b. 1947)
  • 2003 Orville Freeman, American politician (b. 1918)

Hunter S. ThompsonHunter S. Thompson (1937-2005)

American journalist and author (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), commits suicide via a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 67

  • 2005 Tom Willmore, English geometer, dies at 85
  • 2005 William Gordon Harris, British civil engineer, dies at 92
  • 2006 Curt Gowdy, American sportscaster and author (Ford C. Frick Award; Pete Rozelle Award; lifetime achievement Emmy, 1992), dies of leukemia at 86
  • 2006 Lucjan Wolanowski, Polish journalist, writer and traveller (b. 1920)
  • 2007 F. Albert Cotton, American chemist, dies at 76
  • 2008 Larry Davis (criminal)

Alexander HaigAlexander Haig (1924-2010)

American General and 59th Secretary of State (1981-82), dies from a staphylococcal infection at 85

  • 2012 Renato Dulbecco, Italian-born American virologist and Nobel laureate, dies at 97
  • 2016 Peter Mondavi, American winemaker (Charles Krug - Napa Valley), dies at 101
  • 2019 William Broomfield, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan), dies at 96