21 Strange Food Deaths Through History

A list of food and drink related deaths

You know the expression, "death by chocolate." Well, actual food fatalities go much further. And while accidental food poisoning is no joke, you figure that every way you could possibly go, people have gone. Indeed, there have been bizarre food and drink related deaths throughout history — some involving pretty famous people. Here's a list of 21 strange food deaths.

Read More: 13 Tragic and Unfortunate Food Deaths

Chrysippus: The Greek philosopher, Diogenes, supposedly gave two food-related accounts of the death of Chrysippus (considered to be the co-founder of Stoicism). The first story goes that in 206 BC at the age of 73, he died after drinking over-proof wine at a sacrificial ceremony students invited him to. The other account? Amused by observing his donkey eat figs, Chrysippus told a servant to give it wine, a sight that made him die laughing.


Lucius Fabius Cilo: Among its List of Unusual Deaths count the end of this Roman senator's life in the 2nd century when he supposedly "...choked...by a single hair in a draught of milk."


Henry I of England: This king died from food poisoning in Normandy in 1135. He supposedly over-indulged on lampreys, a favorite dish that his doctors had forbidden him from eating.


Martin of Aragon: Who was king of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia, and Corsica and Count of Barcelona and King of Sicily supposedly died in 1410 as a result of indigestion and laughing uncontrollably.


George Plantagenet: The Duke of Clarence played a role in the Wars of the Roses, plotting against his brother Edward IV. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London, convicted, and was supposedly executed by drowning in a cask of Malmsey wine in 1478.


Vlad VI Înecatul: Vlad ruled Wallachia between 1530 and 1532 when supposedly after drinking too much during a long banquet, he mounted his horse, rode toward the Dâmboviţa River, and drowned. He thus became known as Vlad the Drowned.


Tycho Brahe: This Danish noble who known for astronomical and planetary observations supposedly died in 1601 of a bladder or kidney ailment that he contracted while attending a banquet in Prague. According to a firsthand account, "Tycho had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette."


Sir Francis Bacon: The former British Lord Chancellor died in 1626 of pneumonia supposedly contracted while stuffing a chicken with snow to test a theory about its preservative properties. You hate to be insensitive, but Pip Wilson's poem is pretty funny: "Against cold meats was he insured? For frozen chickens he procured — brought on the illness he endured, and never was this Bacon cured."


Francois Vatel: In 1671, after a shortage of roasted meat, and a fog that prevented a fireworks display to honor King Louis XIV of France, this maître d'hôtel supposedly committed suicide upon learning that he did not have enough fish to feed his guests.



Henry Purcell: One of Britain's great composers supposedly died of pneumonia in 1695, but there are two running stories. Either he got sick after returning late from the theater and carousing with his friends, or he died of chocolate poisoning, "a result of consuming the impure drink at one of London’s new chocolate houses."