Your final words are your last legacy upon mankind. Have you thought about what you’re going to say? These men did, and the effects were profound. Lend your eyes and ears and take a cue from these badass last utterances.

Henry Ward Beecher


Context: The social reformer and clergyman who championed women’s suffrage, abolition, and temperance died of a stroke on March 6, 1887. The night before drifting off into oblivion, he uttered these final words.

Charles Darwin


Context: On April 18, 1882, Charles Darwin had a severe heart attack in the middle of the night. He was recently diagnosed with coronary thrombosis and knew it was coming to an end. Recognizing his imminent death, he awoke and stated to his son, “I am not the least afraid to die.” The great naturalist died in England, and the ballsiness of such a final statement is something we can all aspire to.

Wallace Hartley


Context: On April 15, 1912, bandleader Wallace Hartley and a few musicians attempted to quell Titanic passengers’ horror. Until the very last moments of the ship sinking, the band kept playing. As the waves crashed on his bandmates and death swiftly came, he called out to his friends, “Gentlemen, I bid you farewell.” He was found two weeks later floating in the icy Atlantic fully dressed with his violin case strapped to his body. A newspaper reported that Hartley’s act “will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea.”

Giles Corey


Context: During the Salem Witch Trials, courts would impose awful torture techniques to get those accused to plea. One witch by the name of Giles Corey refused. He died of pressing, an old colonial trick to get people to talk, which involved placing large rocks and boulders on top of a board that lay on top of the body, systemically crushing people to death.

Knowing he wouldn’t be offered a fair trial, Corey simply requested more weight. As his eyes bulged and his tongue protruded from his face, he continued screaming, “More weight,” right up until his last breath. He was 71.



Context: Nostradamus suffered pangs of gout that made much of his final years unbearable. The famous French seer spent his life predicting future occurrences, and his last one rang unequivocally true. On July 1 1566, he told his secretary that he wouldn’t be alive the next day. An alternative quote is, “You will not find me alive at sunrise.” The next morning she found him dead on the floor next to his bed.

Richard Feynman


Context: A theoretical physicist whose life is glittered with scientific accomplishments had surgery on two rare forms of cancer. It didn’t save him. Moments before death, he acknowledged the mundane nature of death. He was 69.

Thomas J. Grasso


Context: He was a convicted murderer facing execution in 1995 for the killing of two women. While not exactly manly, one could agree his last words expressed zero fear of death.

Hunter S. Thompson


Context: “No more games. No more bombs. No more walking. No more swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitch. No fun – for anybody. 67. You’re getting greedy. Act your old age. Relax – this won’t hurt.” Thompson always knew he’d stare death in the eyes and take his own life. He told his friend 25 years previously that “he would feel real trapped if he didn’t know that he could commit suicide at any moment.”

Joe Hill


Context: Joe Hill was an Swedish labor activist who played a substantial role in the Industrial Workers of the World labor union in the early 20th century. A thorn the side of the establishment, he was accused of murder (based on dubious evidence) and sentenced to death by firing squad. When the deputy shouted, “Ready … Aim …” Hill interjected, “Fire!” He died on November 19, 1915 at 36.

Harry Morant


Context: “And don’t make a mess of it,” Morant yelled in the face of a firing squad, exemplifying true badassery in its purest form. He was a military commander during the Second Boer War in Africa, and he was accused of war crimes under still-disputed circumstances. After his death in 1902, Morant remains an Australian folk legend for his wartime heroics.

James French


Context: So punny it’s not even funny. American criminal James French was supposed to live out a life sentence after murdering a man who picked him up hitchhiking. He didn’t want to commit suicide, so he killed his cellmate in order to be executed. As he sat on the electric chair, he offered a bit of advice to the press.


Fabrizio Quattrocchi


Context: Quattrocchi was an Italian security officer who was taken hostage by Islamic militants in 2004. They filmed him and told him to dig his own grave and kneel beside it. But Quattrocchi remained defiant till the bitter end. He pulled off his hood and shouted, “I’ll show you how an Italian dies!” They shot him in the back of the neck, and the video was never released because it was too gruesome.

Marcus Cicero


Context: In 43 BC, the greatest orator of the late Roman Republic was placed on the enemy of the state list. Mark Antony’s political faction within Caesar’s empire despised Cicero’s brilliance as an influential spokesperson for the Senate. On December 7, Cicero was captured and bowed his head in a noble, gladiatorial gesture. They then cut off his head and hands and displayed them in a public plaza. Things were a lot different back then.

Michel Ney


Context: Michel Ney was a marshal who led numerous battles on behalf of Napoleon of France. After Napoleon was defeated and dethroned in the summer of 1815, Ney was tried for treason and arrested. His lawyer tried to convince the court that he was Prussian by birth, exempting him from French law. Ney interrupted his lawyer during the proceedings by claiming loud and proud, “I am French and I will remain French.” Along with Michel Ney died France’s reputation for bravery.

Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras


Context: Favras was a French aristocrat who was accused of high treason during the French Revolution. On February 18, 1790, he was sentenced to death. When a clerk handed him his death warrant, Favras read it and handed it back to the clerk, replying with these final words. He is now remembered as a pioneer in Grammar Nazism.

Georges Danton


Context: Georges Danton was an esteemed lawyer and prominent figure during the French Revolution. Historians describe him as a “chief force in the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the First French Republic,” but his detractors thought he was too soft and lenient. He was sentenced to the guillotine by advocates for revolutionary terror. The 35-year-old Danton went out in a blaze of cheeky narcissism on March 30, 1794.

Lawrence of Rome


Context: Lawrence of Rome was one of the seven deacons under Pope Sixtus II. He was assigned with the task of distributing material goods from the Church to the poor. The prefect of Rome, who was a greedy pagan bastard, had other plans. The prefect believed there was hidden treasure in Rome, and he ordered St. Lawrence to bring it to him. Lawrence came back with dozens of impoverished, sick Romans and said, “This is the Church’s treasure!” The prefect placed Lawrence on a gridiron stove and burned him to death. Once sufficiently fried on one side of his body, St. Lawrence declared these final words in an act of rebellious love, dying on August 10, 258 AD.

Augustus Caesar


Context: Shakespeare said life is a stage. And Augustus Caesar was perhaps the greatest actor. He is noted for restoring peace and creating an environment for the economy, arts and agriculture to flourish in Rome. Though some historians say his last words were, “I found Rome a city of clay but left it a city of marble,” the popular consensus goes with these humble last words.

Karl Marx


Context: The famous German philosopher, economist, socialist and part-time venture capitalist uttered these final words before succumbing to bronchitis and pleurisy. He said this to his housekeeper, whom he paid.

Jack Daniel


Context: The man whose whiskey is the most popular in all the world died from an infected toe, which could’ve been cured by cleansing it with Jack Daniel’s whiskey. As recently as 2006, these final words were used as a slogan in a London advertisement.

Todd Beamer


Context: An American hero whose balls were rumored to be the size of coconuts, Todd Beamer was a passenger on the ill-fated flight United 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field going 580 miles per hour. After hijackers killed the pilots and herded the passengers to the back of the plane, Beamer and cohorts organized a plot to take back the plane. He spoke these last words after reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm with GTE airphone supervisor Lisa Jefferson.

Edward Rulloff


Context: Edward Rulloff was an influential philologist and murderer whose brain is the second-largest brain on record. He wrote definitive books on the origins of language until he beat his wife and daughter to death. Before his public hanging in New York in 1871, he added a touch of gallows humor on the gallows.

Edward Ahrens


Context: In August 1942, while stationed on the British Solomon Islands during WW2, Private First Class Edward Ahrens was discovered clutching a sword with 13 dead Japanese surrounding him. In the middle of the night, enemy soldiers tried to infiltrate a military compound he was guarding. He died from his wounds, but single-handedly thwarted Japanese advances. Previous to stating this, Ahrens said, “The bastards tried to come over me last night.”


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