The last words a person ever shouts out into the void of our universe is given a special place in our society. They mark an ending of something. That someone existed, and no longer exists, and is therefore unable to ever utter another sound.
It’s a simple premise yet we often ascribe profound meaning to the last words someone is able to speak.
And as a collective society we raise certain individuals up upon our shoulders in reverence, their last words seem to be even more special, somehow. It’s a conception that the last line someone utters should be profound, with a lifetime of learning and thought being passed onto the rest of the world for us to learn from.
And yet, death doesn’t wait for any man, so the last words of most famous people are often lackluster, random, or even inopportune.
But not all of them.
There are gems hidden in those mountains of sand, after all. Here’s a list of 66 famous last words from some of the most impactful people on history.
66 Famous Last Words
#1. Freddie Mercury
Mercury said these words during his final hours to his partner, Jim Hutton, wanting to use the bathroom but being too debilitated to do so on his own.
#2. John Wayne Gacy
“Kiss my ass!”
These are the words John Wayne Gacy reported by some to say to his executioners as his last words. Others claim he remained silent, however.
#3. Kobe Bryant
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644”
While not his last words, this was the last Tweet Kobe Bryant ever sent out, praising LeBron James for passing his record for the most points scored in the NBA. Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash the same day, January 26, 2020.
#4. Steve Jobs
“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
Steve Jobs said these words to his sister on his deathbed, on October 5, 2011.
#5. Michael Jackson
“Just make me sleep. Doesn’t matter what time I get up…”
“I can’t function if I don’t sleep. They’ll have to cancel it.”
“And I don’t want them to cancel it, but they will have to cancel it.”
These three statements were reported to be Michael Jackson’s last words by his personal doctor, the last man to be with him alive.
Address to god: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
To God: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
To the good thief: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
To his mother Mary: “Woman, behold your son”
To John: “Behold your mother.”
To all: “I thirst.”
To the world: “It is finished.”
These are the reported seven last words of Jesus Christ, at least according to the bible.
“I love you guys, have a good one”
Xxxtentacion, or Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy as he was born, sent his last known words to his fans on Instagram. Witnesses of his shooting death reported he said something along the lines of “What the f*ck is going on?” but this is disputed.
#8. Abraham Lincoln
“She won’t think anything about it.”
Abraham Lincoln said this line to his wife in the theatre box moments before John Wilkes Booth entered and shot him in the head.
#9. Albert Einstein
“I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”
Albert Einstein said these words to his doctor when urged to get immediate surgery. The next morning, on 18 April 1955, his brain aneurysm burst. He also said something in his native German tongue to his attending nurse moments before his death, but she was unable to recognize the words as she didn’t speak the language.
#10. John Lennon
“No, let’s go home because I want to see Sean before he goes to sleep.”
John Lennon said this about his son in reply to his wife, Yoko Ono, moments before he was assassinated.
#11. Ludwig van Beethoven
“Pity, pity — too late!”
Beethoven said these words after finding out his publisher sent him a gift of twelve bottles of wine.
“Whence comes the sunshine? Happy…”
The Italian painter Raphael, originally Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, said these words to his wife after looking around the room right before passing away.
#13. Frank Sinatra
“I’m losing it.”
Frank Sinatra said this to the doctors, nurses, his manager, and his wife moments before dying in a hospital.
“Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.”
Nostradamus, whose real name was Michel de Nostradame, said this to his secretary the evening before being discovered dead in his bed the next day. It was, perhaps, his most accurate prediction.
#15. Marie Antoinette
On her way to the guillotine, the infamous last queen of France, Marie Antoinette, said these words after stepping on her executioner’s foot — presumably by mistake.
#16. Isaac Newton
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
This is the last passage often attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, the famous polymath. The quote is challenged quite frequently, with many historians claiming his actual last words are unknown, and that these were fabricated.
#17. Leonardo da Vinci
“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”
Leonardo da Vinci reportedly said these words to King Francis I on his deathbed. First written in Giorgio Vasari’s collection of famous painter biographies, the quote is considered to be disputed still to this day.
#18. Richard Feynman
“I would hate to die twice. This dying is boring.”
The famous Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman reportedly said this on his deathbed in 1988.
#19. Benjamin Franklin
“A dying man can do nothing easy.”
The famous inventor Benjamin Franklin said this after his daughter told him to flip over in bed to help him breathe easier.
#20. Charles “Lucky” Luciano
“Tell Georgie I want to get in the movies one way or another.”
The famous mobster Lucky Luciano said this just before dying. His wish came true, as the mobster became infamous in many tales and movies later on, especially in The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano.
#21. Arthur Conan Doyle
“You are wonderful.”
The author of the Sherlock Holmes stories and many, many more, said this to his wife in his garden, just before clutching his chest and dying on the spot.
#22. T.S. Eliot
The famous writer of amazingly beautiful prose whispered this to his wife before dying a short while later.
#23. Vince Lombardi
“Happy anniversary. I love you.”
Football’s most famous couch died of lung cancer in 1970. Before he passed away, he turned to his wife and said these words.
#24. John Wayne
“Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.”
The original motion picture cowboy turn to his wife and said this line after being asked if he still knew who his wife was.
#25. Ernest Hemingway
“Goodnight, my kitten.”
The influential American writer Ernest Hemingway said these words to his wife the day before committing suicide on July 2, 1961.
#26. Groucho Marx
“This is no way to live!”
The famous comedian Groucho Marx said this while laying on his deathbed dying from pneumonia at age 86.
#27. Harry Houdini
“I’m tired of fighting.”
After being punched three times while not ready to perform a magic trick requiring him to flex his abdomen, Harry Houdini said these words while dying in a hospital 9 days later from a ruptured appendix.
#28. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley said this to his girlfriend at the time when she advised him to not fall asleep since he was on heavy doses of painkillers at the time. He was found dead in the bathroom after she woke up a while later.
#29. Alfred Hitchcock
“One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”
As the famous horror movie maker Alfred Hitchcock was dying at the age of 80 from natural causes, he reportedly said this to those nearby.
#30. Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilych Lenin said this in Russian after his dog brought him a dead bird. He died after a series of strokes put him in bad health.
#31. Winston Churchill
“I’m bored with it all.”
The WWII prime minister, Winston Churchill, said this before dying from a stroke at the ripe age of 90.
#32. Truman Capote
“Mama — Mama — Mama.”
While laying on his deathbed, dying from years of alcohol abuse, the famous writer Truman Capote was reported as repeatedly saying this over and over.
#33. James Brown
“I’m going away tonight.”
The so-called hardest working man in show business said these lines during his last day on this planet to his manager.
#34. James Donald French
“How’s this for your headline? ‘French Fries!”
The convicted murderer James Donald French, told this to people attending his execution after being asked for any last words.
#35. Humphrey Bogart
“Goodbye Kid. Hurry back.”
The famous American icon and actor Humphrey Bogart said this to his wife as he lay on his deathbed, dying from throat cancer in 1957.
#37. Bob Marley
“Money can’t buy life.”
The famous reggae pioneer said these words to his son at the hospital after fighting a long battle with a rare form of melanoma.
#38. Julius Caesar
“You too, child.”
While heavily disputed, many historians believe these words to be Julius Caesar’s last. It’s often interpreted to be the beginning of a well known greek phrase at the time, which the entire line would’ve been “You too, my son, will have a bite of power.” Two senators suspected of being his illegitimate children were among those that killed him. And Marcus Junius Brutus, if not his actual son, was supposedly quite dear to him.
#39. Emily Dickinson
“I must go in, the fog is rising.”
The famous American poet Emily Dickinson was dying from Bright’s disease in 1886. Her last days included several short notes to her niece, with this being her final message.
#40. Jane Austen
“I want nothing but death.”
Perhaps Britain’s favorite all-time novelist, Jane Austen said this to her sister shortly before dying from Addison’s Disease in 1817.
#41. Oscar Wilde
“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.”
The author of The Picture of Dorian Gray and several other famous works, Oscar Wilde, reportedly said this on his deathbed. Some historians dispute this account though, stating he said the words several weeks before dying.
“All saṅkhāras decay. Strive for the goal with diligence.”
It’s taught that Buddha died after eating his last meal, but obliged his followers that his death had nothing to do with it. This was reportedly his last instruction before passing away.
#43. Karl Marx
“Go on, get out — last words are for fools who have not yet said enough!”
After suffering from illness for over a year, Karl Marx said these words to his attending maid who asked if she could write down his final statement.
#44. Dale Earnhardt Sr.
“Okay, just wondering.”
The famous Nascar driver said this to his teammate after asking him if he had any advice for the race.
#45. Timothy McVeigh
“It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
The perpetrator behind the Oklahoma City bombing, Timothy McVeigh, didn’t say any last words at his execution, but he did leave the above lines as his final official statement. It’s a poem called “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.
#46. George Harrison
“Love one another.”
The incredibly famous lead guitarist of The Beatles, George Harrison, said these words for his wife to record as his last statement.
#47. Bob Hope
The famous American actor and comedian was asked by his wife where he wanted to be buried and said this in a humorous response.
#48. Johnny Cash
The famous “Ring of Fire” singer said this to his physician after being unable to do the physical therapy exercises on the day of his death.
#49. Hunter S. Thompson
“Football Season Is Over. No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
The creator of gonzo journalism Hunter S. Thompson wrote these lines four days before his death in a suicide note.
#50. Kurt Vonnegut
“And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say: ‘Kurt is up in heaven now’. That’s my favorite joke.”
The writer of classic novels like Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle wanted this to be his last recorded words.
#51. Patrick Swayze
“I love you.”
The American actor Patrick Swayze said this timeless line to his wife before passing away on September 14, 2009.
#52. Amy Winehouse
“I don’t want to die.”
The famous singer who died well before her time, Amy Winehouse is reported as having said this as her final words.
#53. Whitney Houston
“I’m gonna go see Jesus, want to see Jesus.”
The famous American musician apparently told this to a friend days before being found in a bathtub, having passed away after a long battle with drugs, depression, and heart disease.
#54. Andrew Breitbart
“I called you a putz cause I thought you werebeing [sic] intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize.@CenLamar @dust92”
The infamous American conservative news publisher wrote this final tweet before dying of a heart attack on March 1, 2012.
#55. Hugo Chávez
“I don’t want to die, please don’t let me die.”
The dictator and Venezuelan politician whispered this to those around him before passing away.
#56. Paul Walker
“Hey, let’s go for a drive.”
The American actor said this line right before getting into a Porsche with his friend after leaving his charity event. The car crashed shortly after in a high-speed collision with a concrete lamp post.
#57. Robin Williams
“Goodnight, my love.”
The legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams said these words to his wife before committing suicide by hanging. His autopsy discovered he had undiagnosed diffuse Lewy body dementia, of which worsening depression and other mental disorders are side effects.
#58. Stan Lee
“God bless. Take care of my boy, Roy.”
The amazing and prolific comic book creator Stan Lee said these words to his protege and manager.
#59. George H. W. Bush
“I love you, too.”
The two-time president of the United States said these words to his wife before passing away in 2018.
#60. Chadwick Boseman
“It broke me, man, but we need to do that for them. People deserve abundant life, special moments. They’ve been through hell battling disease. If we were able to ease their suffering and bring joy for a moment, and hopefully moments he goes through the bags, then we made a difference in his life.”
The Black Panther actor texted this to a producer for a fan in the Make-A-Wish Foundation before passing away from colon cancer.
#61. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
The United States Supreme Court justice dictated these lines to her granddaughter. After her death, a far-right religious judge Amy Coney Barrett was installed in her spot by Donald Trump and the Republican party.
#62. Larry King
“I love you. Take care of the boys.”
The late American talk show host said this to his estranged wife before passing.
#63. Betty White
The amazing comedian and actress said this to her assistant before passing. Allen was her late husband who had died in 1981, a full four decades before her own passing.
#64. Charles M. Schulz
“Keep going, finish your book.”
The famous cartoonist and author of the Peanuts series said these encouraging words to his son Monte.
#65. Allen Ginsberg
The late American writer and poet Allen Ginsberg reportedly said this as his last light-hearted words.
#66. Kirk Douglas
“Mike can get it done.”
The great American actor expressed his support for Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential run before dying in February of the same year. Mike did not get it done.
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