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Deaths on the Throne

Death could come at anytime -or anywhere. Here are some folks who met death while on the toilet or because of the toilet, from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Attack of the Factoids.

WHO: Roman emperor, Elagabalus
WHEN: 222
CAUSE OF DEATH: Murder

Elagabalus became emperor as a teenager and was entirely unprepared for the job. Initially, his erratic behavior was entertaining, but eventually it became an embarrassment to the Roman power structures. Three wives, several rumored homosexual liaisons, and a few sacrilegious acts later, he was murdered in his bathroom.

WHO: King Edmund II of England
WHEN: 1016
CAUSE OF DEATH: Natural causes… or murder

When Edmund became king of England, he battled the Viking king Canute the Great for control of England. Edmund lost and eventually struck a deal dividing the disputed territories, agreeing that whoever died first would cede his territory to the other. Months later, Edmund was found dead in his bathroom… and Canute took over England. Officially recorded as death from natural causes, some historians now believe the timing of Edmund’s death was too coincidental to be anything but murder.

WHO: Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe
WHEN: 1601
CAUSE OF DEATH: Burst bladder

The famed Danish astronomer, who invented an indoor pressure-flow toilet, died in a terrible twist of fate: During dinner one night, having consumed a large amount of alcohol, he politely refused to leave the table to empty his bladder. By the time Brahe made it to the loo, his overfull bladder had burst and killed him.

WHO: King George II of England
WHEN: 1760
CAUSE OF DEATH: Aortic dissection

George II ruled for more than 30 years… and then died from a tear in the lining of the aorta while straining on the toilet. He made medical history as the first person to have “aortic dissection” recorded as the cause of death.

WHO: Empress Catherine the Great of Russia
WHEN: 1796
CAUSE OF DEATH: Unknown, but probably natural causes

Catherine the Great, Czaress of Russia, was making her way to the bathroom when something caused her to collapse on the threshold. That’s where her attendant found her partially conscious. She died soon after.

WHO: Elvis Presley
WHEN: 1977
CAUSE OF DEATH: Drug overdose

The king of rock and roll died as the result of taking too many prescription drugs, including codeine from a dental visit. (He was known to have previously had an allergic reaction to codeine.) While in the bathroom, Presley apparently got sick, fell unconscious, and crashed to the floor. His autopsy stated he died from “cardiac arrhythmia” from ingesting too many drugs.

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The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Attack of the Factoids. Weighing in at over 400 pages, it's a fact-a-palooza of obscure information.

Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!


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