[[quoteright:296:[[WebVideo/Lonelygirl15 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elizabethcough_4627.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:296:[-[[BloodFromTheMouth The bloody handkerchief isn't a good sign.]]-] ]]

->''"A cough is the first sign of a terminal disease."''
-->-- [[http://www.avforums.com/threads/the-hollywood-rule-book.32262 "Hollywood Rule Book,"]] Vanity Fair

If you have a cough, you're going to be dead before the end of the show.

This is usually accompanied by [[HighPressureBlood nasty amounts]] of BloodFromTheMouth which is always a bad sign, even when there's no plausible reason for it. May also involve collapsing. The character will probably try to hide it and will usually succeed until they actually pass out. This trope is almost always carried out by the IllGirl or the LittlestCancerPatient. A more proactive sufferer may be a DeathSeeker looking for AGoodWayToDie or an OldMaster desperate to train TheChosenOne before the illness takes them.

In Western literature the trope was heavily influenced by the prevalence of tuberculosis, an infectious disease considered by many historians to be the greatest killer in human history - yes, even greater than malaria or plague. The symptoms of tuberculosis (also known as consumption, phthisis, TB, or the White Death) are identical to those of the Incurable Cough Of Death, but death would usually come far more slowly for the TB patient, at least in RealLife.

Thematically, the unnamed disease tends to act ''like'' pneumonia or tuberculosis, even in futuristic settings where those real diseases might be cured. Other times it's a hyped up version of unfortunately very real symptoms of chronically overworked people. In general, wider knowledge of medical conditions doesn't let writers be specific without slipping up. In modern or advanced settings, the presence of a fictional tuberculosis expy is done because the real tuberculosis, while still a nasty disease, is relatively easy to detect and treat using modern medicine.

Of course, in real life, people cough all the time from non-life-threatening causes, but those generally don't make for interesting stories. Think of this trope as the medical variant of ChekhovsGun: if someone coughs in the first act, they better be dead by the third. [[note]]Ironically, Chekhov himself died of tuberculosis, which he contracted sometime in 1884, finally succumbing to it in 1904, after a good twenty years that are widely considered his most productive period as a writer. Note that Chekhov being a doctor had little to do with his unusually long lifespan after diagnosis: before streptomycin, there was no known effective treatment or cure for TB.[[/note]] The LawOfConservationOfDetail also applies.

Compare SoapOperaDisease and VictorianNovelDisease. If the character insists that it's nothing, then it's DefinitelyJustACold. The trope may also lead to a HealthcareMotivation.

This trope is also used for people dying of a chest wound (where it can indeed occur, either because the person's lungs are trying to cough up whatever foreign body has been pushed into them, or because blood is leaking into the respiratory tract.)

'''As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers follow,''' though, really, the entire point of the trope is that the death isn't a spoiler to the viewer, so as far as ''spoiler by definition'' tropes go, this is one of the safer ones. In any case, you have been warned.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/KarakuriCircus'': Narumi has a bizarre form - he is nigh-incapable of breathing until he can make someone laugh. Too bad he's TheComicallySerious.
* Souji Okita makes quite a few appearances in fiction, complete with his famous sickness. In ''Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto'' he is a frail looking spectre of a man, who sees a ghostly cat and wastes away while reminiscing with the hero and lamenting his sad fate. Then he dies.
* ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'' has few of these too. Most of them happen during serious fights (and usually only bad guy dies afterwards), but there's actual example too. Since killing off Okita Sougo (a character loosely based on Okita Souji) would've completely messed up the comedic nature of the series, mangaka twisted things a bit - instead of Sougo having tuberculosis, it was his sister Mitsuba who suffered from illness... and she lasts for about two episodes. Among fans the arc is considered to be a big TearJerker.
** Also Kouka (Umibozu's wife/Kagura and Kamui's mother), during her lingering illness due to being separated from the altana of the devastated Yato home world. The symptoms first appear when she coughs up blood on newborn Kagura.
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'', IllGirl Nagisa has an evidently non-lethal version of this. [[spoiler: Until she gives birth, which complicates things a bit.]]
** In ''After Story'', [[spoiler: One of the first signs that her and Tomoya's daughter Ushio inherited the already [[DeathByChildbirth deceased Nagisa]]'s illness is that she beings coughing profusely. It gets nastier for both father and daughter. [[{{Retcon}} And then better.]]]]
* In ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'', one character seen during the "Conviction" arc is a prostitute who appears to be dying of a severe venereal disease. She claims the inside of her mouth is swelling up and her legs are covered in sores. ''Berserk'' being ''Berserk'', we see ''plenty'' of her body, and none of the symptoms she describes are visible. The only symptom we do see? A nasty cough.
** Well, we do see her suffering from severe vaginal bleeding as well, so it isn't ''just'' a cough.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' Jushiro Ukitake subverts the death aspect.. sorta, with a particularly terrible, bloody cough from an unnamed illness he's had from childhood. As a noble-ranked shinigami, he was born in the Soul Society (the afterlife), but spirits are still capable of dying and even breathe. Usually, he's either laid up in bed or his activities will be interrupted by a violent coughing fit that will lead to him coughing up blood. Fans popularly conclude he has tuberculosis but the story itself has never confirmed the nature of the disease, only that he obtained it in childhood and the shock of being diagnosed with it [[LockedIntoStrangeness turned his hair]] [[DiseaseBleach white.]]
** In the Sternritter arc this is actually explained: [[spoiler:Ukitake was going to die from a real Cough of Death, but his parents sent him to a shrine and prayed for the entity to heal him, and he did by possessing Ukitake. Of course, no one knows about that until the moment the plot needs that convenient entity. ]]
** We don't have any idea what killed Hisana Kuchiki aside from the fact it was some kind of sickness. She was unable to survive to the end of winter with it, and the anime gave her an Incurable Cough of Death to emphasise her weakening condition.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Uchiha Itachi dies from one of these. Apparently, he had been keeping himself alive with all sorts of medicine so he could [[spoiler: be killed by Sasuke]]. Then we find out ''why''. On the whole, it comes off as a huge TearJerker.
** There's also Kimimaro, who plays this completely straight, and Hayate who has a cough, but averts the death aspect by being sliced in half.
*** So far, Hayate's cough is the only actual sign of a disease we've seen in-universe. And we don't even actually know what it is.
** Hinata Hyuga nearly avoids this. She acquires exponential damage to her body's chakra system and heart from facing her cousin, Neji Hyuga, in the preliminaries. She is still feeling the affects of such a strain on her body that she breaks out in a violent coughing fit during the fight between Neji and Naruto a month later and subsequently passes out. Kiba Inuzuka finds an ANBU overlooking the final Chunin matches [[spoiler: It's really Kabuto Yakushi in disguise]] and has him heal her with his medical ninjutsu.
** Sai's "older brother" Shin also died from one of these [[spoiler: before Danzo could force them to fight to the death]].
* Papillion from ''Manga/BusouRenkin'' has such a cough, and escapes his inevitable death by becoming a homunculus. However, his transformation was incomplete, so though he has an immortal, super-human body, his illness wasn't cured like it should have been and his cough carried over.
* In ''Anime/BtX'', Hokuto suffers from radiation poisoning, and is stated to have few months of life left [[spoiler: He isn't planning to last that long.]]
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass R2'', TheAce Li Xingke has a chronic Incurable Cough Of Death that also causes BloodFromTheMouth every so often when he pushes himself or his [[HumongousMecha Knightmare Frame]] too far. [[spoiler:Despite having the disease, he survives to see the end of the series. Then again, he isn't seen in the big wedding portrait in the end]]...
** [[spoiler:He lives. Check the background during Ougi and Nunnally's handshake. That big ol' mech look familiar?]]
*** [[spoiler: One problem: That's the ONLY thing that appears. Even when the Tianzi goes to the wedding, Xingke doesn't appear, which is strange for her devoted bodyguard. It's entirely possible that someone else is piloting it, whether they're as capable as Kallen and Suzaku, or simply using it on a lower setting.]]
* In ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'', Joshua Christopher suffers from this trope, until [[spoiler: he accepts Chrono's horn from Aion and becomes part of the antagonist organization, the Sinners.]].
* Nemu in ''Manga/DaCapo'' coughs up CherryBlossoms and quickly deteriorates in health. Subverted in that she survives.
* Hyatt in ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' is constantly coughing up blood, collapsing, vomiting and dying (several times a chapter).
* In the ''Manga/FruitsBasket'' manga, it is revealed that Tohru's father Kazuya died of badly treated pneumonia.
* Izumi Curtis in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' does this, although she isn't the usual character type. And there's a darker reason for the cough than just illness. [[spoiler:A failed attempt to transmute her stillborn infant son back to life caused the destruction of her internal reproductive organs.]] The hemorrhaging gets much worse during periods of extreme stress or guilt, causing her to cough up a truly frightening amount of blood. In spite of this, she still [[spoiler:outlives nearly every major character while enduring heavy combat]].
** [[spoiler:Hohenheim later cures her Incurable Cough Of Death. He cannot bring her organs back, but via an alchemical punch to the gut he can permanently stop the bleeding and the cough. Ironic, no?]]
** That said, [[HiromuArakawa Hiromu Arakawa's]] signature [[MoodWhiplash sense of humor]] manages to make even ''this'' trope funny. Such as when Izumi was caught a thug while looking for the Elrics.
-->"If you don't tell me where they are..."
-->"So? What happens if I don't tell you?!"
-->"I'll give you ''this!''" ''([[BloodFromTheMouth pukes blood]] [[{{Squick}} in his face]])''
-->[[CrossesTheLineTwice "NO YEEAKH UGH AAAH!!!!"]]
*** Note: This gag never made it into the anime(s).
** Ed and Al's mom Trisha also succumbs to this; not to mention the deaths of homunculi, and whenever anyone sustains a serious torso wound… Aw heck, ''FMA'' is ''in love'' with this trope.
** IllBoy Alfons Heiderich in TheMovie of [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]] also has a Cough of Death, and [[JustifiedTrope for a more traditional reason:]] fumes from the rocket fuels he was creating have destroyed his lungs. [[spoiler:As it turns out, that isn't what eventually kills him. It's Rudolf Hess.]]
*** In the same movie, it's revealed that Izumi eventually died due to her cough.
* Averted in ''{{Manga/Gravitation}}'' where Yuki [[spoiler:not only collapses as he also coughs blood in the process but manages to survive. The illness is blamed on stress (it ''might'' be ulcers) and just as mysteriously as it appeared it disappears. Ironically or not Shuichi assumes that his lover is about to die]].
* In ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'', the "elderly" (actually only 50) Master Asia is the greatest fighter in the world. [[MyKungFuIsStrongerThanYours His Kung Fu is stronger than everybody else's.]] He can effortlessly destroy HumongousMecha using just his bare hands, or by swinging [[NerfArm a piece of cloth]] at them. Basically the only one who's even worthy of ''thinking'' about fighting him is the main character... who happens to be his student. Yet when he turns against his boss, a weakling of a normal human, poor Master Asia is conveniently incapacitated by his Incurable Cough Of Death.
* Somewhat subverted in ''Manga/GlassMask'', since Maya's mother, Haru ''does'' suffer from tuberculosis, but [[spoiler: actually dies after being hit by a car]].
* Also, in the manga ''Manga/MobileSuitGundamSEEDAstray'', a master swordsmith and swordsman named Un'no is also able to fight against HumongousMecha on foot...though he uses a katana to do it, and "only" slices the barrels off their guns. His Incurable Cough Of Death actually is TB, which he dies from shortly after passing on his knowledge to Lowe Gear.
* ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'': Integra's father dies of (as one review put it) "a terminal case of coughing up blood".
* In ''Manga/KareKano'''s [[SchoolPlay play]] "Steel Snow", the Inventor's Forrest-Gump-esque first love Rose reappears to give him a baby to take care of, [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/kare_kano/v09/c041/13.html coughs three times,]] and promptly dies.
* In ''Kodomo No Jikan'', Rin Kokonoe's mother Aki coughs after being in perfect health for the rest of the manga. She's dead within a dozen pages. Fixed in the anime - she actually finds out that she has lung cancer, but decides the money for expensive treatment to prolongue her life for a short while would be better used to raise Rin as well as possible. She hides it as long as possible; by the time it becomes inescapably noticeable, it's too far gone, [[HeroicSacrifice and Aki dies a relatively quick wasting death.]]
* In the ''Manga/BlackButler'' manga during the {{circus|OfFear}} arc Ciel is dragged off to the makeshift outdoor baths by his roommate. During this time it's winter and the water the circus performers are washing up with isn't heated (it's VictorianLondon, after all). After being soaked with the freezing water we later see Ciel coughing, eventually falling into an aggressive coughing fit that causes him to vomit. We find out that he [[spoiler: suffers from asthma, a disease he inherited from his mother. The cold had aggravated it.]] He gets better, though.
* Yuna Miyama from ''Anime/{{Maburaho}}'' starts coughing, but this is later subverted when [[spoiler:Kazuki Shikimori dies healing her.]]
* ''Anime/{{Macross}}'':
** In ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'', the Incurable Cough Of Death is simply one of the V-Type Infection's syndromes (among dizzy spells, fever, keeling over at the drop of a hat...) that [[spoiler: Sheryl Nome]] has to endure, even though [[spoiler:Grace]] has claimed the V-Infection to be incurable and fatal. [[spoiler: Her]] struggling to overcome these in order to reassert [[spoiler:herself and her ideals]] seems to be one of the major plot arcs as the series nears its end.
*** [[spoiler: However, Sheryl doesn't die, but is saved when Ranka uses her own Vajra skills to move the virus from her brain to her stomach region, turning it into more of a benign symbiosis than infection.]]
** Parodied in ''Anime/{{Macross 7}} Encore'', where Millia comes down with a cough and assumes that she is dying. She begins doing a whole bunch of [[HilarityEnsues really silly things]] that she wants to do before she finally gives out. At the end of the episode, Dr. Chiba finally states his diagnosis: a cold. The cough was never anything more than a cough, but Millia overreacted due to apparently never having gotten sick before.
* Zest of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' has this, due to being one of [[MadScientist Jail's]] botched attempts at an [[SuperSoldier Artificial Mage]]. [[spoiler: While [[HugeGuyTinyGirl Agito]] hates her for doing it, she thanks Signum for killing Zest in battle, letting him die as a knight instead of a sick man.]]
** Precia Testarossa as well. Why is she coughing up blood? Who knows! Probably stress and overworking herself, even though we never actually see her doing much apart from whipping Fate.
*** It's possible that it's a sickness brought on by that magical reactor explosion that [[spoiler:claimed her daughter's life]], akin to radiation poisoning.
*** The movie manga reveals that she actually suffered from cancer.
* In the anime ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'' (second season), AntiVillain Eagle Vision is in an advanced stage of this, complete with BloodFromTheMouth. He forces his friend and minion Geo to not reveal it so he can die a "warrior's death".
* A character appearing on two episodes of the mecha anime ''Anime/MetalArmorDragonar'' is shown to have this disease. However, he ends up surviving just long enough to see his two longtime compatriots killed, one by "friendly" fire, and then gets shot down himself after proving to be a significant enough opponent to elicit an upgrade of all three main HumongousMecha.
* Averted in ''Anime/MyNeighborTotoro'', where Satsuki and Mei's mother clearly ''is'' in a clinic for tuberculosis but [[spoiler:gets cured and sent home (after a few scares) in the end]].
* Justified in ''Manga/NabariNoOu'', as Yoite's ''entire body'' is failing as a result of his use of the forbidden Kira technique. [[spoiler: It's explicitly mentioned later on that he won't survive the month.]]
* Hiruluk of ''Manga/OnePiece'' has a disease similar to this, in which he periodically coughs up blood. But this isn't what kills him; [[spoiler:even when fatally poisoned by Chopper's misguided attempt to cure him, and facing death at the hands of Wapol's firing squad, he [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled drinks a potion and explodes]].]]
** Doc Q and Stronger of the Blackbeard Pirates are also frequently shown coughing up blood; they have yet to die.
** [[spoiler: Whitebeard had it, too. Considering [[RasputinianDeath everything else he went through]], though, it's easy to forget.]]
* Xerxes Break from ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' suffers from this at times.
* Sayo Muto aka Magdaria from ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'''s filler arcs is dying of tuberculosis. Specifically, she got it from her mother when she was a little girl, and her older brother Shougo tried to search for a cure to no avail. [[spoiler: Neither mother nor daughter die of illness; both of them were shot to death, with several years of difference.]]
** One could argue that it's played straight, [[spoiler: in that the cough signals the audience that the character is doomed. Of course, the way the writers were practically splashing "Wouldn't it be so tragic if this character died?" all over the screen every time poor Magdaria appeared, most of us [[ForegoneConclusion already knew that]].]]
** Other two with that cough: the famous and aforementioned Souji Okita from both the manga and the TV series, and Shinsaku Takasugi from the ''Tsukiokuhen'' OAV. Very much a JustifiedTrope: as seen below, both were based on real life people who DID die of tuberculosis.
** [[spoiler: Kenshin, and then Kaoru]] contract some kind of unspecified disease in the [[NonSerialMovie Seisouhen OVA]] whose symptoms include this. (The [[FanNickname fans]] called it "Super Tuberculosis".)
* We know that since ''Manga/RoseOfVersailles'' is a tragic shojo anime, that there's little chance that Lady Oscar will make it to the end of the series alive, but when she starts coughing up blood, that pretty much cinches it. Although, unusually, [[spoiler:she doesn't actually die from the cough (though she ''is'' informed that it's terminal) but in a far more suitably dramatic manner while storming the Bastille and being shot to death.]]
** Also, both [[spoiler: the Dauphin [[TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth Louis Joseph]] ]] and Marie Antoinette had tuberculosis (a particularly painful osseous tuberculosis for [[spoiler: Louis Joseph]]), althrough only [[spoiler: the Dauphin]] died of it.
* In one episode of ''Anime/RuneSoldier'', Louie helps a little girl to find a rare flower for her grandmother, who has an unspecified sickness, that mostly consists of a bad cough.
* In the "Dream" arc of the ''Manga/SailorMoon'' manga, Mamoru hides his Incurable Cough Of Death from Usagi at first, but he is soon discovered. He also coughs up some [[BloodFromTheMouth black blood]] and, more significantly, has a black rose in his lungs showing this to be some sort of magic disease (apparently without followup testing for known diseases that can produce anomalous chest x-rays). It turns out [[spoiler: it is a result of his kingdom, Elysion/The Golden Kingdom, that he ruled being attacked which affects him physically... once the enemy is defeated he is cured]].
* ''Anime/UchuuSenkanYamato'' had TheCaptain Juzo Okita (a nod to Okita of TheShinsengumi mentioned above; a.k.a. Captain Avatar for ''Anime/StarBlazers'' fans) suffering from a worsening case of radiation poisoning as the series progressed. The practical effect in the series was demoting him to the {{Mentor|s}} in favor of HotBlooded [[TheHero Hero]] Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar), the "Acting Captain" to be.
* Raquel Applegate of ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 4}}'', [[spoiler: due to suffering from an unknown, incurable disease that's implied to be radiation poisoning]]. This doesn't stop her from being the most powerful character in the game, though it does explain why her HP and speed are so low. [[spoiler: She eventually dies in the DistantFinale epilogue, having never found a cure for her sickness.]]
** Subverted in ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 5}}'', by the ''same character'', but in a [[TheCameo cameo]] [[ContinuityNod appearance]]. Although she still has the cough, the player can go on an obnoxiously long IrrelevantSidequest to cure her and give her a happier ending. Ironically, the thing you use is the same cure-all that had no effect on her in ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 4}}''.
* ''Manga/XxxHOLiC'' main character Watanuki- who is also the ButtMonkey / TheWoobie of the show- suffers from the dreaded blood-coughing after [[spoiler: befriending a lonely ghost whose presence sadly sucks out his life energy even if she doesn't want him harm]] in a episode arc. He does survive because another character [[spoiler:kills the ghost with a spiritual arrow in order to save him]], but it is made clear that it would have killed him if the situation would have continued any longer.
* In the manga ''Manga/{{Emerging}}'', a heavy cough that sometimes [[BloodFromTheMouth produces blood]] is one of the first signs that a character may have contracted the extremely deadly [[ThePlague mystery illness]] that is spreading across Tokyo.
* Takiko Ohkuda from ''Manga/FushigiYuugiGenbuKaiden'' continuously coughs during her journey. When she's back in the Real World, it's revealed that she [[spoiler: caught the consumption of her late mother, Yoshie]]. Then again, [[spoiler: it's already revealed by Miaka that she originally was {{mercy kill}}ed at the hands [[OffingTheOffspring of her father]].]]
* In the manga ''VideoGame/HeartNoKuniNoAlice'' Nightmare has one.
* Hatsune Otonashi in ''Anime/AngelBeats'' suffers from this.
* Aslan Battour from ''Manga/KazeToKiNoUta'' suffers from tuberculosis in the backstory. [[spoiler:He's already dead in the main storyline.]]
* In ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', WordOfGod says that a pre-teen Holy Roman Empire suffered from this and BloodFromTheMouth. TeamMom Hungary is seen picking him up and carrying him around [[BridalCarry in her arms]] at least once. [[spoiler: He died later, but is strongly implied to have sort-of being brought BackFromTheDead... as Germany.]]
* Ayumi starts to do this in Episode 5 of ''Anime/{{Charlotte}}'', first over the phone while talking to Yu during their stakeout camping trip. Later when he's back home a few days later, she starts coughing again, and also mentions that she ran out of her pizza sauce. Double subverted, however, as while it turns out that her cough was merely a one-day cold, it does, in a very roundabout way, lead to her death. Yuu thinks she's still safe at home, but Ayumi, feeling all better, has decided to sneak out to school, where her yandere classmate's threatening her with a knife causes her to panic and accidentally trigger her special ability, Collapse. ''This'' kills her.
* Subverted in ''Manga/{{Superior}}'' when Angelica mistakes Umberto's cough as a sign of a deadly illness (not helped by him asking for a specific medicine during a coughing fit). It was actually a pollen allergy.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Marvel 1602}}'' miniseries, Queen Elizabeth I is shown coughing blood into a handkerchief. To be fair, she WAS rather old, and history records that she died in 1603. [[spoiler:Count Otto von Doom's poison device renders the question moot, though.]]
* In ''Franchise/GreenLantern's ComicBook/SinestroCorpsWar'', Guy Gardner coughs in mid-battle, indicating that he's infected by the sentient bio-virus Despotellis. He soldiers on and fights, until eventually collapsing, before the Corps medic injects him with Leezle Pon, a sentient smallpox virus... who's also a GreenLantern. Two viruses enter, one leaves victorious.
* Strangely averted in ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'', when it is revealed that [[ComicBook/TheQuestion Vic Sage]] knew he was dying of lung cancer since before the start of the series, but the only hint of that is him disapproving of his protégées smoking, and that is treated like a RunningGag more than anything. Of course, once the cat is out of the bag, his symptoms starts to show. ''[[TearJerker Fast.]]''
* In an issue of ''Comicbook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesAdventures'', the turtles find themselves in the Caribbean in 1492 in time for Christopher Columbus' "discovery" (ItMakesSenseInContext), and one of the natives develops a cough, foreshadowing the epidemic from diseases the Europeans brought over that they themselves had immunities against.
* This was how ComicBook/IllyanaRasputin showed that she had been infected with the [[ThePlague Legacy Virus]]. [[http://www.esoterica.demon.co.uk/ux/296.html "There was a time when characters would just have a cough, but this being the early nineties, it's obviously a plot point."]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'', this was how John's terminal lung cancer manifested itself, although intermittently enough at first that he spent a long time in denial.
* In ''ComicBook/TheMetabarons,'' Othon von Salza takes terminal damage to his lungs when he destroys the Shabda-Oud cetacyborg. He coughs up blood for the rest of the issue until he dies.
* Played with in ''ComicBook/MarvelZombies 4''. Jack Russell[=/=]ComicBook/WerewolfByNight wanders off coughing. It's an indicator that Morbius' vaccine has backfired: when Jack is reunited with his team mates a little later he's turned into a zombie.
* ''ComicBook/{{Fatale}}'': Booker coughing is a sign that he's deathly ill. Of course, eventually he starts coughing up blood, so he better be.

* The main character in the ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5932238/1/Pariah Pariah]] suffers from this.
* Joey in the WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries fanfic ''FanFic/{{Decks Fall|EveryoneDies}} [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6474469/1/Decks_Fall_Everyone_Dies Everyone Dies]]'' has this.
* Marty has one of these in ''FanFic/NoAntidote''.
* In the little known [[http://forum.fanfiction.net/forum/WHOO_Kingdom_Hearts_RPG/80471/ WHOO!]] ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' RPG! The character Reeves seems to have contracted one. Trolololo
* Lady Silvermane in [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/16112/Whispers Whispers]] is stated to be old and sickly, and has a nasty cough that worsens with stress. She also keeps a handkerchief on her reading desk, which is mentioned to be drenched in blood, suggesting tuberculosis or some other lung disease.
* [[OCStandIn Melania Black]] in ''Frachise/HarryPotter'' fanfic ''Fanfic/IfThemsTheRules'' starts coughing up blood when the poison runs it course and she starts to die.
* In [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8576012/1/Number-XII-The-Savage-Nymph Number XII: The Savage Nymph]], Larxene's [[SingleMomStripper mother]] has this as the only symptom of her unspecified disease.
* In the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' and ''Series/DoctorWho'' [[CrossOver crossover]] fic [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5872953/1/Harry-Who Harry Who]], this with some [[BloodFromTheMouth nasty results]] is one of the signs that the [[FinalBattle final battle]] didn't end quite the same way. [[spoiler:[[TheNthDoctor he got better]].]]
* In ''Fanfic/TheVow'', Lianne's mother is gravely ill when she's introduced. She coughs so violently at one point that her handkerchief is bloodied. She deliberately hides it, but Shen spots it. [[spoiler:She dies in the next chapter.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', [[spoiler: Flynn coughs just before his death from stabbing; perhaps blood got into his lung]].
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Balto}}''. The entire point of the story is that the titular dog-wolf hybrid had to help a dogsled team get medicine so that the diphtheria epidemic didn't kill most of the town's children. They are shown occasionally, growing weaker and often coughing weakly [[ShownTheirWork per the disease's actual symptoms]], but Balto and the team make it in time to save them.
* Also averted in ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH''. Timmy is bedridden and coughing because he has pneumonia, but we're led to believe by the end of the movie that he's getting better thanks to the medicine his mother gave him.
* The Van Dorts' servant Mayhew in ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'' has a nasty cough at the beginning of the film that the Van Dorts complain about. He later succumbs to whatever was causing it and falls over dead while driving them home. They don't even notice aside from the sudden lurching of the carriage. He then shows up in the Land of the Dead as a "new arrival".
* This trope is spoofed in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' movie ''WesternAnimation/WakkosWish'', in which Dot constantly coughs and claims she "needs an operation" but never mentions quite what the problem is. At the end of the movie, she does a DisneyDeath that lasts for less than five minutes (Those acting lessons paid off!), and is later shown emerging from the operating room with a new beauty mark to make her "even cuter".
* Clara in ''[[WesternAnimation/DavidCopperfield1993 David Copperfield (1993)]]''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/AVPAlienVsPredator'', Charles Bishop Weyland not only has a cough, but actually listens to a story about someone who died because they were in no physical shape to take on the challenges that they faced. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he won't be walking off into the sunset at the end of this movie.
* In ''Film/ClearAndPresentDanger'', Admiral Greer's mild coughing fit during a Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting heralds a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and he's [[LethalDiagnosis dead two scenes later]]. To be fair though, pancreatic cancer does have an incredibly low survival rate.
* Creator/NicoleKidman's character Satine in ''Film/MoulinRouge'' is also dying from tuberculosis. In a slight subversion, she doesn't know she's dying (even though it should be pretty frickin' obvious), because Harold (her boss and father figure) tells the doctor not to tell her so she can continue to perform. Even though someone in the late stages of tuberculosis would not have been able to hit the notes she was singing, or sing at all for that matter.
* Subverted in ''Film/EscapeFromLA'': Up until the end of the film, everyone was convinced that Snake's cough was due to him being infected with a deadly toxin. Then, it was revealed that [[spoiler: he and the audience had been duped;]] the "Plutoxin 7" virus he was given [[spoiler: was actually a common influenza virus]].
* In ''Film/TheHost'', coming into contact with the tadpole monster reportedly infects the touched with a lethal virus. When main character Gang-Du is infected, the media makes a big case about how he is exhibiting "cold-like symptoms", including coughing (which leads to some mild hysteria on the streets of Seoul when a man coughs in a crowd while the media piece is playing). Subverted in that [[spoiler:the virus ''doesn't actually exist'' (the US Army stuck with the story because it was too late to say they were wrong), and Gang-Du probably just has a cold]].
* The mysterious virus in ''Film/RightAtYourDoor'' seems to give people coughs and prompt tearful evaluations of life and the government.
* At about the halfway point of the Creator/AndyKaufman BioPic ''Film/ManOnTheMoon'', Andy coughs while explaining his latest stunt to his agent; later, during a comedy club appearance where he invites audience members to touch a cyst on his neck, he has a brief fit of coughing. These are both given no heed and the latter could be seen as AllPartOfTheShow...but in the next scene Andy breaks the news to his confidantes that he has a rare form of lung cancer, which he eventually dies from. Notable because this is actually TruthInTelevision: Andy developed a cough in the mid-1970s, and he sometimes can be seen coughing in interviews. In 1983, when it became too frequent and pronounced to ignore, he took his loved ones' advice, went to a doctor, and learned that he was dying; the cough was a side effect of his illness.
* Ratso Rizzo's persistent pneumonia gives him a cough of death in ''Film/MidnightCowboy''.
* Creator/JulianneMoore's character in ''Film/TheEndOfTheAffair'' coughs lightly in a restaurant and Creator/RalphFiennes' character asks if she's alright. Needless to say, she's on her death bed within 20 minutes of screen time. In an essay about seeing this movie with his boyfriend, David Sedaris pokes fun at how this trope was used; "It might have been different had Julianne Moore suddenly started bleeding from the eyes, but coughing, in and of itself, is fairly pedestrian".
* In Film/BriansSong, the first big sign that something more than a little weight loss is happening is Brian Piccolo hacking and wheezing on the sidline complaining of hay fever and allergies. A fairly realistic example of this trope since he's actually got a tumor in his lung.
* Justified in ''Film/BrassedOff''. Coal lung (caused by inhaling small particles of coal dust, which proceed to abrade membranes in the lungs) has all the symptoms, and is incurable and invariably fatal. Danny is a retired miner who has probably worked for over thirty years, most of that before protective gear.
* Sarcastically parodied in ''Film/SuperheroMovie''. The soon-to-be-villain has a brief coughing fit; the handkerchief he uses comes away with a blood splotch on it. When the protagonist asks if he's okay, the villain replies, "Oh, yes, I'm fine. This is ''healthy'' cough blood."
* Longshanks, in ''Film/{{Braveheart}}''. Introduced subtly as a very mild sneeze; by the end he's dead from consumption. Given his age and the time period, however, he was going to go pretty soon anyway.
* ''Film/FindingNeverland'', Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Creator/KateWinslet) is a widow with five young sons, so you think she'd want to look after her health for their sakes. There were consumption treatments and sanitariums (though no cure, some people DID recover) in Edwardian England, especially for a woman with money. But instead she says "I need to go on pretending...until the end...". That's about as useful as "think happy thoughts and you can FLY!"
* Subverted by another real-life character played by Creator/KateWinslet, Juliet Hulme, in ''Film/HeavenlyCreatures''. Juliet suffered from TB as a child, and her relapse as a teenager is signaled by one scene of her in school coughing slightly and then spurting a tasteful amount of blood on her text book. She spends months in hospital, [[spoiler: and helps her best friend Pauline murder Pauline's mother, after Juliet recovers]].
* ''Miss Potter'' - Ewan [=McGregor=]'s character, Norman Warne. Mr. Warne's sister has to tell his fiancee Beatrix that Norman died suddenly, possibly caused by getting rained on at the train station to say goodbye to Beatrix. "It was just a cough!", Millie Warne says. Actually Norman Warne died of Leukemia, which apparently doesn't cause coughing, but maybe that's not nearly as "romantic"?
* In ''Film/{{Constantine}}'', the eponymous AntiHero is dying of lung cancer, complete with bloody cough, and he knows it. In the end, of course, [[spoiler:the Devil cures him so he won't go to Heaven]].
* ''Film/GranTorino'' - Creator/ClintEastwood's character exhibits the cough complete with bright red blood and the coughing fits being violently enough to bring him to his knees. He passes it off as nothing, but a later scene with the doctor implies that it's a great deal more serious. He doesn't die of it, [[spoiler:instead dying in a hail of bullets to make sure a violent street gang stays put away]]. Given the frequent smoking in the film and his advanced age, it's probably lung cancer.
* ''Film/RepoTheGeneticOpera'' has Rotti Largo, whose very first scene has him being brought the news that he's dying, and has very little time left. His only symptom is a rather bad cough, and [[spoiler:of course, he's dead by the movie's end.]]
** In fairness, they do hint that it's some kind of cancer--he's bald and has lesions on his face, which can both be caused by chemotherapy and similar treatments. [[spoiler:It's the stress of the Genetic Opera that kills him by the end.]]
* Used in ''Shadrach'' where Paul's mother has a persistent cough, probably from tuberculosis, and dies a few years after the events in the movie.
* In ''Film/StarWars'', Yoda's imminent death is heralded by his rather nasty cough in his last scene while alive, although he apparently dies of simple old age - perhaps his weakened immune system couldn't stand the swampy air of Dagobah?
* In the Creator/ErrolFlynn swashbuckler ''Film/CaptainBlood'', HangingJudge [[HistoricalDomainCharacter Lord Jeffreys]] coughs into a cambric handkerchief and is diagnosed by the eponymous hero as dying from "a bleeding death in the lungs." (In the novel and in RealLife, Jeffreys' fatal illness was actually kidney disease. (Admittedly, kidney disease is rather more of a challenge to show tastefully on screen...)
* In ''Film/MildredPierce'' the younger daughter gets the fatal cough after the first 15 minutes.
* The movie Film/BrightStar has John Keats succumb to an Incurable Cough Of Death, which is a TruthInTelevision because the actual John Keats died of TB.
* ''Film/TheRoad'' has the father coughing through most of the movie. His sickness is never identified, but he does die from it.
* In ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'', Mr. Wing is coughing from his smoking, and later dies.
* In Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/TheStand'', coughing=having Captain Tripps (the "superflu" which all but wipes out humanity)
* This is the first sign of infection in the Zombie flick ''[[Film/DeadAir2009 Dead Air]]''.
* Averted in the film adaptation of ''Film/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf''. Characters frequently cough, but it doesn't portend anything.
* Strangely enough, [[spoiler: Ram]] in ''Film/{{Tron}}'' starts coughing after being mortally wounded.
* In ''Film/IronJawedAngels'', Inez starts with a cough...then coughs blood...then dies. Same as her real life counterpart, she has pernicious anemia.
* In the [[FilmOfTheBook film adaptation]] of ''Film/TheLastSong'', the main character's father has an ominous coughing fit shortly before his daughter(and the audience) find out he has terminal cancer.
* In ''Film/{{Inception}}'', Saito (who had been shot in the chest in the first dream level) appears to be fine... until he starts coughing. By the time they've finished the third dream level, he's died and gotten stuck in limbo.
* Tiny Tim (Robin the Frog) in ''Film/TheMuppetChristmasCarol''.
* Whistler in ''Film/{{Blade}}''.
* Johnny Blaze's Dad in the ''Film/GhostRider'' film gets the Cough of Death, as a symptom of his blatant lung cancer from smoking too many cigarettes.
* Robert Franklin and [[spoiler:Hunsiker]] in ''Film/RiseOfThePlanetOfTheApes''.
* The disease in ''Film/{{Contagion}}'' takes this form, killing you mere days after you start coughing.
* In ''Film/SherlockHolmesAGameOfShadows'', [[spoiler:Irene Adler]] is murdered with some kind of poison that causes this and BloodFromTheMouth followed by death in minutes.
* The James Eckhart indie film ''To Be Friends'' has one scene like this on a beach to establish that the lead female character is terminally ill, explaining why she and her best friend are in the countryside so [[spoiler:she can commit suicide.]]
* George "The Gipper" Gipp (UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan) in ''Film/KnuteRockneAllAmerican'', dies this way after his freshman season playing for Notre Dame ([[OneSceneWonder which was covered in about ten minutes in the film]]).
* In ''Thérèse'', Thérèse (soon to be St. Thérèse of Lisieux) develops a violent cough, complete with BloodFromTheMouth, which proves to be tuberculosis.
** TruthInTelevision. In fact, Thérèse was ''overjoyed'' when she found blood in her handkerchief. She'd spit something into her handkerchief the night before but had to wait till morning to make sure. She writes about it like a five-year-old on Christmas.
* ''Film/{{Byzantium}}'': Clara gains this in her adult life before she turned vampire. She's also shown coughing up blood.
* Ray in ''Film/OffTheBlack'' suffers from multiple coughing fits. It's implied that he's living on borrowed time, likely due to his job dropping Agent Orange during Vietnam.
* In ''Film/PansLabyrinth'' Ofelia's mother is very ill, this is apparent because she has both a cough and a handkerchief. She's also pregnant, so you just know how [[DeathByChildbirth this is going to end]].
* Luigi in ''Film/TheWagesOfFear'' has a cement lung and coughs throughout the movie, most dramatically when he handles the nitroglycerine in the Thermos jug.
* Edith in ''Film/CrimsonPeak'' picks up a bloody cough a few nights after arriving at the titular household. With her mother dying of disease during her childhood and then ''haunting'' her, you'd expect Edith to be concerned, but she seemingly forgets about it. [[spoiler: Probably best she didn't bring it up, since Lucille is poisoning her tea. Subverted in that Edith survives the film, although her recovery is an open question.]]
* [[spoiler:Eazy-E]] in ''Film/StraightOuttaCompton'' begins coughing when he [[spoiler:fires Jerry Heller for embezzling money from his group. It turns out his coughing is {{foreshadowing}} his HIV/AIDS diagnosis]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBoyAndTheWorld'', a harvester has a terrible cough. [[spoiler: It's implied that his cough isn't what kills him, it's the government that doesn't find him useful anymore...]]
* In {{Tombstone}}, [[spoiler:Doc Holliday's cough marks his eventual death by tuberculosis, much like the real Doc Holliday]]

* ''Literature/DragonQueen'': Trava's father coughs a lot before he dies.
* In Creator/CormacMcCarthy's ''Literature/TheRoad'', the father has a cough due to the bad quality of the air.
%%* ''Literature/TheStand''.
* Lord Gyles Rosby, a [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters minor character]] from ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', was known for his constant coughing. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Queen]] Cersei appointed him to her Council (because the alternative was Garth The Gross, a man troubled by constant flatulence who was also a bannerman of Lord Tyrell, who Cersei despises,) after which he promptly died.
--->'''Cersei''': "Lord Gyles has had that cough for ''years'', and it never killed him before. He coughed through half of Robert's reign and all of Joffrey's." ... "You will return to Lord Gyles and inform him that he does not have my leave to die."
** This may have been partially due to the stress a Braavosi put him under, as they kept asking for the repayment of loans from the Iron Bank of Braavos.
* In Creator/CharlotteBronte's ''Literature/JaneEyre,'' the minor character [[TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth Helen Burns]] expires from consumption during a typhus epidemic. Helen's illness is portrayed quire realistically, though. Her general weakness is emphasised far more than the coughing, and she is well enough to more or less function for a long time. Helen, in both character and condition, was based on one of the older Bronte siblings (who died before her younger sisters became famous), so Charlotte knew what she was talking about.
* In "The Golden Road" by L. M. Montgomery, Cecily (after having always been more delicate than her friends, and spending a night with them in a bitter snowstorm) develops a persistent mild cough around the middle of the novel. She was otherwise perfectly happy and healthy for the rest of the novel, but after that point, the author begins to sprinkle in very subtle hints that she died soon after the book ended.
* Parodied in the Fourth Wall-abusing novel ''The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun'''. In one scene near the beginning Philip Roth--yes, that Philip Roth--coughs, and [[LampshadeHanging remarks]] that means he'll be dead by the end of the novel. The protagonist tells him that it's a parody and he shouldn't worry. [[spoiler:As you've probably guessed, it's played straight in the end. Roth knew he was dying all along, and furthermore, had killed Lilian Jackson Braun himself, out of a deep-seated hatred of her books]].
* Stephen Leacock names this as one of the ways out to end a detective novel without [[DownerEnding having to hang or imprison the culprit]] in [[http://kraalspace.blogspot.com/2007/08/great-detective-by-stephen-leacock.html ''The Great Detective'']] , itself a collection of tropes for detective stories.
* In ''Literature/TheHouseOfNight'' series, once a fledgling vampyre starts coughing, this means they are rejecting the change and will die. BloodFromTheMouth often occurs as well.
* In ''Literature/DreamOfTheRedChamber'', Lin Tai-yu has one from her introduction. It escalates considerably after she makes a certain discovery.
* Fantine in ''Literature/LesMiserables'', of an unnamed illness, probably tuberculosis. Apparently she coughs after every word - which doesn't stop her from delivering lengthy speeches on how happy she will be to see her daughter again. In the book, it both plays straight and inverts ThePowerOfLove - she might be cured if her daughter is brought to her, but she dies of shock when these hopes are dashed by Javert. (Also, see Theater.)
* In ''Literature/TheKiteRunner'', the first sign of the illness that will kill Amir's father is a cough. Doesn't quite fit this trope because the novel goes into a lot of detail about his diagnosis of lung cancer. But later, in a textbook example, Amir (and the reader) are alerted to Amir's old friend Rahim Khan's fatal illness by his coughing up blood.
* ''Literature/ThePlagueAndI'' is set in a TB Sanatarium, so there is a lot of this. Subverted in that the author, ''Author/BettyMacDonald'', never has this symptom, though, which is why she went undiagnosed for so long.
* {{Invoked|Trope}} and DiscussedTrope: in Henri Guigonnat's ''Daemon in Lithuania'', here's Max-Ulrich describing his sister Kinga:
--->She sighed a great deal, she used to sink down on to the divans, and sometimes even faint. She would interrupt her wearisome embroidery, raising her eyes to the heavens (she was subject to strange mystical states), or let the heavy anglo-saxon novels, which she never finished, drop on to her knees. She often held a delicate batiste handkerchief to her lips, and coughed faintly. In those moments she paraded an ostentatious discretion, and a truly unbearable resignation. I kept a pitiless watch on her, and I can positively state that she never coughed the slightest drop of blood. But she had cultivated the art of languishing gracefully, and no doubt her head had been turned by romantic examples of phthisis, of homecomings from balls where you catch cold in the snow.
* Subverted with Mr. Poe in ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''. He has always had that cough, but doesn't die. Lemony Snicket is just weird like that.
* In the story ''Laura and the Silver Wolf'', the heroine [[spoiler: who has leukemia]] begins to cough... and from then on, she wakes up exactly once and then [[spoiler: dies. But if we believe her, then she is forever in the Ice-Land and [[DiedHappilyEverAfter quite happy there]]]].
* In ''The Tartar Steppe'' by Dino Buzzati, in the first scene where Lieutenant Pietro Angustina appears, this is how readers are clued in that he's elegant, self-possessed, and ill: "Angustina had a slight fit of coughing. It seemed strange that a sound so disagreeable should proceed from such a refined young man. But he coughed with due restraint, lowering his head each time as if to indicate that he could not help it -- that it was really something he had nothing to do with but which he must endure. So he transformed the cough into a kind of willful habit for others to imitate." Seventy pages later, Angustina dies an elegant and self-possessed death.
* Played literally and horrifically straight in ''Plague'' by Michael Grant. In the book several characters contract a cough that causes them to ''cough out their lungs out''.
* Jem's illness that causes him to cough up blood in ''Literature/TheInfernalDevices''. No cure has been found. [[spoiler:That is until the epilogue of ''The Clockwork Princess'', where a cure was finally found.]]
* Lampshaded and subverted in ''Literature/TheTrueMeaningOfSmekday''.
--> I know when somebody usually coughs in a story it means they're gonna die, but the Chief had had that cough ever since I met him.
* In ''Literature/{{Chime}}'', catching the swamp cough means almost certain death, and several children die of it before the end of the book. [[CloudCuckooLander Rose]] (the protagonist's [[AlwaysIdenticalTwins twin]] sister) starts coughing midway through the book, leading Briony to fear for her life [[spoiler:enough that she asks the [[NatureSpirit Old One]] in the swamp if Rose is really sick. Turns out Rose didn't have swamp cough, just a normal cough...until the [[BlueAndOrangeMorality Old One]] [[MoralEventHorizon gives]] [[DespairEventHorizon it]] to her to force Briony to stop the draining of the swamp. She succeeds, and Rose (barely) survives. The swamp-draining plan was also the reason behind the unusually large number of swamp cough cases that year.]]
* In the ''Hetty Feather'' trilogy by Creator/JacquelineWilson, Ida Battersea starts to suffer from this in the second book. [[spoiler: She [[TearJerker doesn't make it.]] ]]
* The Red Death in ''Literature/TheReynardCycle'' causes this, as well as BloodFromTheMouth. The disease is so feared that sufferers of it in ''The Baron of Maleperduys'' are locked aboard prison barges and left to starve.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', many cats die of greencough, or, less frequently, whitecough throughout the series. Notable examples include Leopardstar's siblings and mother, and Tigerstar's siblings. Firestar and Bluestar even lose [[CatsHaveNineLives one of their nine leader's lives this way]].
* ''Literature/JonathanStrangeAndMrNorrell'': Lady Pole, nee Emma Wintertowne. Though it's made very clear that it might well not have been incurable if her mother had acknowledged that her perfect daughter was sick and allowed her to see a doctor.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Episode "Awakened" of ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' opens with Piper coughing up a storm and Phoebe trying to convince her to go home and rest. Piper insists she's fine. She collapses two minutes later. She's in a coma within a day. Her life is only saved via magic, conventional medicine is shown to be unable to save her.
* ''Series/{{House}}'' gives two giant middle fingers to this trope, because Dr. House's patients just about never die. Except that one time. "But... it's just a cough." One time they had [=TB=] patient, and he didn't cough at all. Cue the good doctor declaring, on live television, "THAT is ''not'' [=TB=]!"
* The ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Lies My Parents Told Me" indicates (in flashback) that Spike's mother won't have long to live when she coughs a bit of blood into her handkerchief.
* Played with in ''Series/IClaudius'', where Gemellus's chronic cough is fatal because it really annoys [[TheCaligula Caligula]].
* ''Series/IClaudius'' is [[ShoutOut Referenced]] in an episode of ''Series/BabylonFive'', when [[TheCaligula Emperor Cartagia]] introduces Londo to his... "[[OffWithHisHead Shadow cabinet]]"; he mentions one of the cabinet members was "always coughing... Most distressing, but we finally managed to cure it."
** This was also used with Londo as {{Foreshadowing}}. Londo, being a Centauri, has seen a vision of his own eventual death, but no context for the scene (seeing their own deaths in a vision is one of several [[PlanetOfHats hats]] the Centauri wear). One of the details of the scene is him having a sickly cough (though he knows from the beginning it's unrelated to his actual cause of death: [[spoiler: being strangled to death by G'Kar]]). Starting from late in the second season, we see Londo cough occasionally, WordOfGod being that it is foreshadowing his eventual fate.
** PlayedWith in the MadeForTVMovie ''The River of Souls'', when a [[OurSoulsAreDifferent Soul Hunter]] arrives on the station. It is mentioned that Soul Hunters always appear shortly before someone important dies... and [[DaChief Zack Allen]] coughs. PlayedForLaughs when he immediately begins protesting that he's ''not'' sick, is ''not'' dying, and only coughed because his throat itched.
* On ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'', people whose bodies don't accept promicin get one of these before death.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Friends}}'', Phoebe poses as Chandler's dying wife to help him get an engagement ring for Monica. She coughs rather casually to emphasize the point that the other man is going to "break a dying woman's heart", prompting Chandler to explain that she's dying "of a cough, apparently".
* Subverted in the ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' sketch [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vNJ5Krj7SQ "The Man Who Has A Cough And It's Just A Cough And He's Fine"]] - an Edwardian man meets with his lover at the railway station, his cough getting worse with each day, despite his insistence that "it's just a cough". Then one day, the woman gets off the train, and finds him gone ... only for him to enter perfectly healthy and explain that it wasn't the TB, it was actually just a cough.
--> '''Woman:''' "I wish I hadn't let you do me, now."
** Parodied in another sketch, in which a terminally ill man gets his best friend to fulfill his increasingly extravagant dying wishes by putting on a sickly-sounding cough.
* In an early episode of Scottish SketchShow ''Series/ChewinTheFat'', Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill are discussing movie tropes, one of which being that the minute you see a young child (no matter how healthy she may seem) cough, she's probably going to die.
* [[DiscussedTrope Analyzed]] in a Series/{{S|aturdayNightLive}}NL [[http://snltranscripts.jt.org/08/08pcoughs.phtml sketch]] with Alec Baldwin, where he hawks DVD #72 in his instructional acting series: "First Coughs: Foreshadowing Your Character's Death." Actually provides a pretty good breakdown of the various ways it's commonly handled, including "Ignoring It," "It's Just a Cold," and "I Don't Need Any Damn Doctors." The Advanced lesson is "Coughing Into a Handkerchief, Seeing Blood in It, Looking Nervously Around, and Hiding it in Your Pocket".
* The 2005 BBC adaptation of ''Series/BleakHouse'' by Creator/CharlesDickens; Richard Carstone works himself to death over the Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce case in hopes of getting his inheritance for himself and his pregnant wife, Ada... rather than staying alive by going to the doctor's and getting a regular night's sleep so he can provide for them. Plenty of "it's nothing!"s and "it's just a cold!" abound, and NO ONE forces him to get help until it's too late.
** Actually, they DO try. Esther asks Woodcourt to keep an eye on him, and Ada is clearly worried - she tries to persuade Richard several times to give up the case. Apart from that, there's not much they can do, which is one reason why his decline is so painful to watch - everyone knows Richard is sick, but he is a) deeply in denial, and b) obsessed with the court case to the point that nothing else matters to him.
** Jo also contracts some sort of illness (in the book it's smallpox) that causes him to cough blood. Unlike Richard, he does try to seek medical help, however a crooked lawyer tells a constable to force the boy to stay away from people. Ultimately he is found by most of the main cast and brought in for rest. Though he still dies, he at least is safe and relieved of feelings of guilt (worried that he caused Esther to die of the disease as well).
* In ''{{Series/Deadwood}}'', Doc Cochrane begins hacking up blood in the third season, and Silas and others describe him as "a lunger," implied to be tuberculosis. Cochrane starts getting depressed, but Swearengen gives him a tough-love pep-talk, telling him that he isn't dead yet and to get back to work. Of course, the fact that Cochrane is the only doctor in town means Swearengen and the rest of the town residents rely on him. [[spoiler: Subverted, since the Doc lives to the end of the series.]]
* Don Fernando in the ridiculously {{Narm}}y educational Spanish-learning program ''Series/{{Destinos}}'' has one of these. He has it throughout the entire 52-episode series and doesn't die. Supposedly, he dies of it after the end.
* Played straight then subverted in ''Series/BreakingBad''. The protagonist develops lung cancer at the start of the show and his first symptom is a cough. He becomes a drug dealer to make money fast for his family before he dies In the episode where he starts coughing badly and even spitting up blood, he assumes he has little time left, kicking off a rather dark take on LikeYouWereDying. It turns out it's just a reaction he's having to the medication, and the blood is from a slight tear due to all the coughing--he's actually in remission.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'': a couple discusses what's for dinner.
-->'''He:''' Well, what kind of fish you got that isn't jugged?
-->'''She:''' Rabbit!
-->'''He:''' What, rabbit-fish??
-->'''She:''' Err, yes. It's got fins...
-->'''He:''' Is it dead?
-->'''She:''' Well, it was coughing up blood last night.
* In one ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' episode, they end up in a world where a disease ("The Q") is spreading throughout the world, and wiping out humanity [[spoiler: because, as a paranoidly clean society, they never discovered penicillin]]. Anyone who coughs has the disease (and often try to cover it up).
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': [[spoiler: Fred is]] killed when her body is taken over by an ancient god. The first symptom? Coughing up blood.
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'', Richard's wife dies shortly after coughing up blood. The soundtrack identifies her illness as pneumonia. This occurs in 1867 in an isolated town on the Canary Islands, so her prognosis is reasonable.
* Played frighteningly straight with ''Series/KamenRiderDragonKnight'' as [[WellDoneSonGuy Chris Ramirez]], aka Kamen Rider Sting, had asthma severe enough to get him discharged from the Marines. It probably wasn't lethal on its own, but when given the offer to be a Kamen Rider he JumpedAtTheCall. After that he really aggravated his condition with all the superheroics, ignoring every warning sign along the way. At least when he went out, it was by HeroicSacrifice instead of illness (and due to being a FateWorseThanDeath that turned out to be not really, he was able to come back in the epilogue ''and'' the heroes now could use {{Phlebotinum}} to cure him).
* While not Chris' counterpart, the series from which Dragon Knight adopted its footage, ''Series/KamenRiderRyuki'' also contains one such character in Shuichi Kitaokao/Kamen Rider Zolda. In fact, its more or the less the main reason why he becomes involved in the Rider War as he wants to use the promised wish to grant himself immortality, thereby curing himself. By the end of the series, Shuichi decides to quit the Rider War deciding to enjoy what little time he has left. However, [[spoiler: he also begins to feel the need to take some personal responsibility over his role in allowing his ArchEnemy to become a Rider, and decides to fight him one last time. Before he gets the chance, however, he succumbs to his illness and dies. Even taking the ResetButton ending into account, there's no indication that things will turn out any better for Kitaoka, and worse, he'll probably never go through the CharacterDevelopment he did in the series and grow out of his {{Jerkass}} tendencies.]]
* In the ''Series/{{Numb3rs}}'' episode, "Janus List", the a bomber, Taylor Ashby coughed a few times in the beginning before being blown up by one of his bombs. Later, it was revealed that he was poisoned and that he only have a short time to live even if he wasn't burned.
* Practically invoked and inverted in ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' episode "My Lucky Night". Dr. Cox's son Jack develops a cough, which turns out to merely be the sniffles, but that doesn't prevent his dad from charging down the hospital hall like a mad bull, violently shoving over other doctors and patients. Dr. Norris, Jack's pediatrician, explains to Cox that as a doctor, he has to deal with the burden of knowledge, knowing what can really go wrong, and that he has to take control of it or it will ruin him. In the episode's closing scene, Cox is lying in bed, panicking about Jack's coughing.
* Subverted in ''Series/CriminalMinds'' episode "North Mammon". Three teenaged girls were kidnapped by a man and held in a cold, damp cellar. Just before this happened, one of the girls had coughed, indicating that she was getting a cold. [[spoiler: That same girl grew worse and worse in health due to her surroundings as she and her friends were locked up. In order to be let go, the kidnapper made the friends choose among themselves which one of them would die in order for the other two to be let go. One of the healthier girls made up her mind to kill the sick girl and was trying to convince the other healthier girl to help, but in the end the sick girl bashed the former's head in with a hammer in order to survive. She and her remaining friend made it out of the cellar alive, but horribly shaken up from the experience.]]
* An non-lethal example from an episode of ''Series/TheCosbyShow''. Cliff is rushing about preparing an anniversary dinner for Claire. About a third of the way into the episode, he begins to cough, and by the episode's end, is laid up in bed with the flu.
* In an episode of ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' Marshall imagines Lily dying from an Incurable ''Hiccup'' Of Death.
* ''Series/TheTudors'' features this at one point, where King Henry's sister starts coughing up blood and dies within an episode. Henry mildly lampshades the suddenness by telling her husband (who is his best friend) in an accusatory tone that "You didn't even tell me she was sick." Unfortunately, somewhat TruthInTelevision... the real life woman died of tuberculosis, which was quite common at the time and manifested primarily as coughing and later hemorrhaging from the lungs.
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'':
** Captain Keene is a very old and frail man who coughs and wheezes all the time. It's clear that he's dying. He dies after the obligatory two thirds of the episode, but interestingly enough, he died when his ship ''Justinian'' was attacked and sunk by the French.
** Finch, a lower-deck character, feels dizzy and feverish, and falls down from a mast. He coughs while his fellow sailors try to nurse him back to health, and even Mr Hornblower is invested in his recovery. It doesn't help that they are on half-rations and his fever doesn't disappear. He dies very soon.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': This is a symptom shown by the submarine crew exposed to an unshielded nuclear weapon in "Enemy Below".
* ''Series/TheWalkingDead:''
** [[spoiler:A boy named Patrick develops this in the season 4 premiere, and by the end of the episode he's dead and re-animated. This results in a walker outbreak inside the prison, necessitating a massive quarantine.]]
** In general, this happens all the time on the show. In order, symptoms are: cough, fever, death, walker. Most characters who get a cough try to hide it, as they'll likely get put in quarantine (or killed) when anyone finds out.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In early serial "The Sensorites", Ian develops a case of this. He goes from coughing to unconcious and dying in about two minutes. Fortunately, he has a natural immunity -- he's a program regular. (That didn't stop some viewers from mistaking William Russell's acting-cough for an on-camera bout of real real-life choking - a different kind of ICOD.)
* ''Series/CasesOfTheFirstDepartment'': Mjr. Plisek is a heavy smoker and he coughs from episode one. In "48 Hours", he has a coughing fit and spits blood. All points to lung cancer, but it's something less serious and he's cured after an operation. Subverted.
* In ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', [[spoiler:Mike Franks]] shows signs of some kind of illness, but what it was was never revealed. [[spoiler:However, Gibbs was making a coffin for him before he was killed, so it wasn't an illness he would've survived. Given his smoking habit, it's highly likely it was lung cancer.]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** When [[spoiler:King Joffrey]] drinks a goblet of wine and begins to cough, it's immediately obvious that he's going to be dead in the next couple of minutes.
** PlayedWith when Jon Snow suffers a serious coughing fit after downing a GargleBlaster offered by Mance Rayder.
* Played with in ''Series/{{Treme}}'': [[spoiler:Albert Lambreaux]] is diagnosed with lymphoma. This itself doesn't cause coughing, because it has nothing to do with the lungs, but coincided with him developing chronic coughing fits for unrelated reasons.
* In the series finale of ''Series/StargateSG1'', the title team is trapped in a bubble of time. As twenty years pass during a montage, an aged General Landry coughs. By the end of the montage, he is lying on his deathbed.
* In episode 2 of ''Series/ShinyaShokudo'', a singer coughs blood after a concert (complete with collapsing). In the next scene she is seen in a hospital bed, while the voice-over explains that she died about one month later.
* In one arc of ''Series/{{Spooks}}'' the team is dealing with a biological weapon that's been smuggled out of Iran. Carriers are asymptomatic for the first 20 hours or so, but when they start coughing up blood they become contagious and die soon afterwards, though [[spoiler:the team is able to secure an antidote from Russian intelligence]].
* In the very first scene of ''Series/TheCrown2016'', [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseofWindsor King George VI]] violently coughs up blood into the toilet, before assuming a StiffUpperLip and going into preside over Prince Philip's investiture ceremony. Given that the focus of the series is about George's daughter [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen Elizabeth II]]'s early years on the throne, it's not hard to guess what's coming.
* ''Series/WalkerTexasRanger''. Towards the end of the two-part episode "Lucas", the AIDS-stricken child develops a persistent cough. Walker takes him to the hospital, and the next scene is of the boy's funeral.

* In ''Podcast/Wolf359'', Eiffel develops a cough at the start of season 2, which gets progressively worse over time. At the end of ''"Lame-O Superhero Origin Story"'', he's audibly out of breath even though he hasn't done any physical labour. He then starts coughing and gagging, [[BloodFromTheMouth hacks up blood]] and collapses. The next episode starts off with him suffering severe breathing problems, running a high fever and going into shock. [[spoiler: During the episode, his lung collapses and he suffers severe internal bleeding. While he ''does'' survive, it's only barely.]]

* OlderThanRadio: The "coughing tragic consumptive heroine" trope dates back to the 1852 novel and play ''La Dame aux Camélias'' by Creator/AlexandreDumas ''fils'', as well as the opera ''La Traviata'' and Creator/GretaGarbo film ''Camille'' based on it.
* Mimì from Puccini's ''Theatre/LaBoheme'' is another operatic character who coughs and faints her way to a tear-jerking death scene. Mimi from ''Theatre/{{Rent}}'' fares much better.
* Both of the above were based on real people (though Mimi very loosely so). What makes La Boheme even more depressing is that the real 'Rodolfo' also died of TB shortly after writing ''Episodes from the Artistic Life'', as did most of the main cast. (Except Musetta... who saved up money to quit prostitution for good after 'Marcello' died, and sailed away to start a new life in French Tunisia... only to be killed when her ship sank.)
* In ''Theatre/LongDaysJourneyIntoNight'', Edmund coughs frequently; he subsequently learns he has tuberculosis. He tries to hide the truth from Mary, his morphine-addicted mother, by passing it off as a "summer cold." In the heart-rending final scene, as the relapsing Mary thinks she's back in her adolescence, Edmund tries to break through to her by shouting, "Mother! It's not a summer cold! I've got consumption!", but she's too far gone for this to register.
* Double Subversion in Creator/MartinMcDonagh's play ''The Cripple of Inishmaan'': Cripple Billy, having a pronounced cough from the start of the play, produces a doctor's letter diagnosing him with TB, and is seen to die of it in a Hollywood motel room. [[spoiler: It turns out that he forged the letter so that Babbybobby, the boatman whose wife died of TB, would take him to Inishmore so that he could be in the film ''Man of Aran''. His "death scene" is actually him rehearsing his lines in his motel room.]] And then [[spoiler: after Billy returns to Inishmaan when, irony of ironies, it turns out that he ''has'' contracted TB after all, complete with BloodFromTheMouth]]. On a related note, the play is also a {{Deconstruction}} of BuryYourDisabled.
* Fantine in the musical ''Theatre/LesMiserables'', of tuberculosis. However, it's difficult to convincingly fake tuberculosis and sing heartbreaking arias at the same time, so it depends on the actress sneaking in a few coughs when she has the time. (The French concept album was more explicit, where Fantine actually sings, "Inspector, I'm sick, sometimes I cough up blood.")

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Dr. Light has this both during the {{flashback}} at X's ending sequence in the ContinuityReboot called ''VideoGame/MegaManMaverickHunterX'' and in the ''Day of Sigma'' OVA included in said game during the flashback showing Dr. Light creating X on his final days.
* Solid Snake in ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 4|GunsOfThePatriots}}'' coughs horribly whenever he's out of his suit, even though the disease giving him trouble is PlotRelevantAgeUp.
** Though, considering the amount he smokes...and he's had his cigs from the first game, and possibly even through training...
** He doesn't really cough until [[spoiler: he's horribly burned in a fire at the end of Act 3]]. Prior to that, he's actually mostly okay. Likely he inhaled the superheated air and burned his throat.
* At the beginning of Hector's path in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheBlazingBlade'', Uther of Ostia coughs during a conversation with Oswin. This pretty much seals his fate.
** In Uther's case, it doesn't really help that he's apparently putting an insane amount of stress on himself and barely sleeps; he may have lasted a ''little'' longer if not for that. Also of note is the fact that his and Hector's parents apparently died of the exact same illness.
* Ukyo from ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'' has long had such a cough, but is a subversion, as his popularity makes him essentially immune to the death he was set up for.
** In at least one of the games' endings, they [[LampshadeHanging hang a lampshade on this quite nicely]].
** Ukyo's [[PressXToDie Seppuku]] takes advantage of his tuberculosis - instead of killing himself somehow like the other characters, his disease finally kills him.
* At the end of the introduction of ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'', the lead character's mother manifests one of these as an explanation of why she isn't present when the game proper kicks off. [[spoiler:It's actually a trick, though -- she's still alive, and gone for entirely different reasons.]]
** In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'', many people in the town of [[PunnyName Coffinwell]] are coughing due to a contagion. Naturally, the only character who dies from it is the one character who downplays their coughing: [[spoiler:Catarrhina]].
* In ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'', at the end of the Maria ending, [[spoiler:Maria coughs, and it is implied that what happened with Mary will happen again with Maria]].
* ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'': Nothing about Ameena augers well for her life expectancy, but it's the cough that makes it possible.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime''. In the first few cutscenes, the Vizier is shown coughing violently, getting blood in his handkerchief. Since he wasn't in a fight beforehand and this has nothing to do with his later death - either of them - it may actually fall under VaderBreath.
** The relevance is more character-driven than plot. The cough and blood show that the Vizier is dying of Tuberculosis. It is this impending mortality which drives him to seek the Sands of Time (and the immortality they can provide).
* ''VideoGame/Persona3'': There's two examples of this:
** Shinjiro in coughs on occasion, the only real sign [[spoiler:the meds he takes to keep his Persona under control have wrecked his health]]. Interestingly, this is worked into gameplay: during combat, when someone misses with a melee attack, there's a chance they'll trip and be left prone for a round. Shinjiro doesn't trip - he bursts into such a severe fit of coughing that he drops to his knees.
** And then we have the IllBoy Akinari Kamiki, the Sun Social Link, a frail, thin young man who has this nasty tendency to go into such fits of coughing that he ends up briefly unable to speak. The name the game gives his Social Link says it all: "Dying Young Man". Notable for actually giving an identity to his ailment (a terminal genetic disorder). [[spoiler:He actually ''does'' fall victim to his illness, and it's hinted that, in a case of NotTooDeadToSaveTheDay, it's his ghost who gives you his book as a]] TragicKeepsake if you max said Link. Also, his soul will cheer on you before you go fight the BigBad.]]
* ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter2'': Lian Xing's main symptom after being infected with TheVirus.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': The quarantine in Omega is in place because of a disease that starts off as a simple cough.
** "It starts out as a cough, then you start coughing blood. And then... well. Then I shoot you."
** If he survived VideoGame/MassEffect2, Thane Krios is coughing when met in VideoGame/MassEffect3. In this case his terminal illness was already known. [[spoiler:He'll later be seriously wounded and die due to complications resulting from his illness, keeping with the trope]].
** When "Archangel" was active on Omega [[VigilanteMan "cleaning house"]], there was a serial killer who also was a biologist specialized in virology. His cause of death was found to be "a cough". Since the killer was a [[IllGirl Quarian]], "Archangel" simply ''coughed on him'' to kill him.
* In ''VideoGame/inFAMOUS2'': The hero's buddy, Zeke develops a cough soon after the plague becomes a part of the plot.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Unreal}}'', you'll sometimes hear Nali cough for no plot-relevant reason.
* According to ''[[Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse Doctor Who: The Adventure Games - City of the Daleks]]'', getting caught in a paradox will not only cause you to fade into non-existence, Film/BackToTheFuture style, but will also give you a really bad cough. Yeah.
* ComicBook/TheJoker in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' has a cough that gets more pronounced as the game goes on, thanks to his TITAN poisoning from the last game. [[spoiler:This is also one of the few cases where JokerImmunity gets thrown out the window.]]
* Zhuge Liang in ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors 6''. Oddly, he actually survives, unlike the real person.
** Guo Huai in ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors 7'' has this as his primary character trait. He still manages to kick all kinds of ass with his [[AnachronismStew ancient Chinese machine gun]], despite keeling over after performing most of his special attacks.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/TraumaTeam'' when [[spoiler:Naomi Kimishima]] coughs up blood near the end of the game, a symptom of the fatal Rosalia virus. It turns out to be the virus, but she's saved from it by [[PlayerCharacter CR-S01]].
* ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'': [[spoiler:Terry Fawles]] falls victim to this in 3-4 from ingesting poison.
* ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'': [[spoiler:Cave Johnson acquires]] a fatal illness [[spoiler:from handling moon rocks, and his intercom]] messages are frequently interrupted by violent coughing fits. Somewhat justified since it's speculated that [[spoiler:lunar dust]] could cause respiratory disease.
* A character in ''VideoGame/IllusionOfGaia'' coughs when you first meet him. He turns out to be your opponent in a Russian Roulette-type game, which he was playing to earn money for his family, since he knew he was dying anyway.
* During the opening sequence of ''VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest'', we see a girl dying of a "mysterious virus" and hear her coughing rather persistently.
* In ''VideoGame/TheSims Livin' Large'', there's the so-called Guinea Pig Disease that your sim can catch if (s)he doesn't keep his/her guinea pig cage clean. Once the guinea pig has bitten the sim, (s)he will start coughing and sneezing and will most likely die in the next few days if (s)he's not treated. The "incurable" part of the trope is subverted, though, because it can be cured in two ways: either buy the Forgotten Guinea Pig painting and wait for several in-game hours or let one of your sims use the Concoction Station several times until (s)he gets a white potion, then let the ill sim drink it.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3|AbsenceOfJustice}}'', Almaz starts getting sick when he's pricked by needle thus suffering an incurable curse. He insists that he's fine the majority of chapter 6 and 7 until finally he drops dead due to progressively getting weaker. Only in the bad ending does he stay dead. Other than that, he'll get better.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonConquest'' surprisingly has this with Hanbei. Once you beat his episode, he starts coughing up a storm. When Hideyoshi asks if anything is wrong, Hanbei just responds that he got too excited. Kanbei doesn't believe a single thing he said though which causes Hanbei to glare at him saying not to say anything before switching the subject on something funnier. Naturally Hanbei didn't die on screen, but given his real life counter part died of tuberculosis, it's easy to assume that he died shortly after.
* ''VideoGame/BrothersATaleOfTwoSons'' begins with the father having contracted what [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Ben Croshaw]] described as "the old classic unspecific-persistent-cough disease", and the two protagonists are tasked with finding a cure before he dies of it.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Hakuouki}}'': It follows TheShinsengumi from before the Ikedaya Incident up to the end of the group, and thus unsurprisingly shows the onset of Okita Souji's tuberculosis and his struggle to cope with his illness. In most routes, it takes him out of the story entirely right around the onset of the Boshin War just like his real-life counterpart; in his own route (and in the anime adaptation) he manages to stick around a little longer thanks to [[spoiler:becoming a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent fury]]]], but his cough doesn't entirely go away and even his ending implies that he's living on borrowed time.
* [[spoiler:Tear]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss''. The cough, like several examples on this page, comes from poison, which in every other case (meaning the [=NPC=]s) plays this trope straight when they come on contact with the miasma. She only avoids death because [[spoiler:a dying Ion takes Tear's poisoned fonons out of her body when his fonons dissipate]]. It does play the trope straight when it comes to fainting, trying to cover it up, and pretending to be getting better. Overlaps with DefinitelyJustACold sometimes.
* ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria'': [[LadyOfWar Field Marshal Viola]]. The fact that she thinks she doesn't have long to live goes a long way to explaining some of her behavior late in the game, though [[spoiler:she doesn't die of it no matter what. Either you kill her, or, if you completed her sidequest, she survives and gets treatment for her disease, which turns out to be less incurable than previously anticipated]].
* ''VideoGame/TheSilentAge'': During one of the final gaming sequences, [[spoiler:Joe]] stumbles a couple of times and gives out a cough. By that time the player can already guess it means [[spoiler:he got infected by the virus from the future and is going to inevitably die. He doesn't only because he is kept in a [[HumanPopsicle cryogenic capsule]] for the next 40 years untill the virus can be cured]].
* In ''VideoGame/ZombiesRun'', coughing is known as the first sign that someone is "going gray".
* ''VideoGame/MinecraftStoryMode'': [[spoiler: Inflicted upon whoever Jesse saved from the Wither Storm when they rejoin the group.]]
* An NPC in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' has a cough that grows worse as he sends you on quest after quest. At the end of the quest chain, the NPC dies off-screen from an unspecified illness and his apprentice delivers the news of his death to you.
* In ''VideoGame/NieR'', your daughter Yonah has one. Although if you're playing the Japanese [=PS3=] version Yonah is your sister instead.
* {{Inverted}} in ''VideoGame/DeepFear'', where the player character's coughing is merely due to a cold, [[spoiler:which happens to make him immune to TheVirus]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation'': [[spoiler: Secret, shortly pre-Abyssalization]] exhibited this in a flashback, complete with [[BloodFromTheMouth blood]], after catching a plague of some sort.
* Webcomic/WoodenRose [[http://www.woodenrosecomic.com/comic/chapter1/29.html The father]]
* The False Guenevere's sickness in ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'' (punishment from God in the base arc, clone degradation in the space arc) manifests this way.
* ''Webcomic/{{Erstwhile}}'' [[http://www.erstwhiletales.com/littleshroud-02/ features it in]] "The Little Shroud"
* ''Webcomic/CheapThrills'': Jeordie has been coughing up a storm for the last couple of chapters, worrying both his dad and his girlfriend. He tells them both he's fine. [[http://cheapthrills.xepher.net/comics/comic378.html He's not]] - though we don't quite know what's wrong, yet.
* ''Webcomic/ABeginnersGuideToTheEndOfTheUniverse'': Once [[spoiler:the Everyman]] starts dying, they occasionally suffer from bouts of coughing, each one accompanied by a reduction in [[RPGMechanicsVerse hit points]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', a flashback with [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2013-05-19 Lil' E's mother coughing]] grimly sets up how he came to be alone. She's desperate enough to appeal to his father for help -- and he's {{Satan}}.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Lapse}}'', Eli's cough is chronic enough to follow him even into the afterlife.
* ''Webcomic/{{XKCD}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/1468/ #1468: "Worrying"]]: Appears in a list of [[ConversationalTroping reasons to be worried in real life versus movies]].
* ''Webcomic/TheArtOfMonsters'': This is the most prominant sympton of the mysterious illness that has afflicted Wu Huan [[http://artofmonsters.thecomicseries.com/comics/29/ throughout his life.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Scurry}}'': Orim, the leader of the mice, has one, indicative of his old age and deteriorating heath.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', whenever a character of elven descent has [[BloodFromTheMouth blood coming from their mouth]] or coughs violently, it's usually a sign that they're showing the first symptoms of being infected with the [[MysticalPlague Blood Fever]].
* Elizabeth Avery's [[spoiler:cancer]] manifests itself this way in ''WebVideo/Lonelygirl15''.
* In ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'', the more wrapped up in whatever happened to Alex Jay gets, the sicker he seems to grow. Entries set in the past show Tim having a similar coughing fit. The following seasons show this is the least of his health problems - without meds, [[spoiler: he turns back into the Masked Man, which involves something approaching a seizure.]]
** The "[[FanNickname Slendycough]]" idea got picked up by a few other stories in Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos, with one suggesting that it's due to [[spoiler: Slender Man dragging the victim back and forth through time, which the human body is not designed to handle]].
*** ''WebVideo/OneHundredYardStare'': Has the symptom appear in episode four.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Parodied in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Kenny Dies". Kenny randomly starts coughing during one scene, and if you can't guess where it leads to, take another look at the episode title.
** Probably Muscular Dystrophy, judging from the vague descriptions we get.
* Also spoofed in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' "Tears of a Clooney". Hayley randomly coughs during one scene, which sure enough leads to her developing cancer (though she ultimately does not die.)
* In an animated short called ''WesternAnimation/TheKinematograph''. It's a truly heartbreaking story about a man attempting to create moving pictures (aka movies) in color. His wife is the one who tells him her theory on how to make color film, which ends up working. However, as soon as he leaves the room, she starts coughing. When he finally makes it work, he asks her to sit down in front of the camera and talk so he can film her. After he's developed the film and is excited to show her, he finds her collapsed on the floor near a bloody handkerchief. [[spoiler: She dies, and all the man is left with is the film of her he was so eager to make]].
* Subverted in the ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' episode "Clum Babies". Clara develops tuberculosis. Foxxy and Spanky convince Wooldoor to produce another Clum Baby (which he no longer produced due to the Veggie Fables convincing him that masturbation is a sin) to save Clara's life. As Clara is dying and about to use a Clum Baby, the Veggie Fables tell her not to use the Clum Baby. Foxxy tries to convince the Veggie Fables otherwise, but Bob the Cucumber refuses to listen. Bob kills Clara and proceeds to kill everyone else in the house except for Wooldoor.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Superjail}}'' - [[TearJerker poor little "Sanser]]"...
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Poor Violet is one half of a pair of orphans who always show up in Springfield whenever a heartstring needs tugging. She suffers from this. Most likely due to living in an orphanage that can't afford the proper number of walls.
-->'''Poor Violet''': Three is not enough ... (COUGH HACK COUGH)
* ''WesternAnimation/OverTheGardenWall'' features Lorna, who spends the majority of her appearance coughing due to a "mysterious illness" [[spoiler: (actually an evil spirit that has possessed her]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* A bad nosebleed can cause blood to drip into the throat. Naturally, this causes coughing, and while obviously not fatal, it's unsettling and by no means fun. It can be even worse in the winter, when it's easier to be dehydrated ''and'' when it's easier to catch an illness, thanks to everyone staying indoors in close environments.
* Legendary gunfighter Doc Holliday eventually died of tuberculosis. It's said that knowing he was terminal was what made him such a DeathSeeker in the first place. (Reportedly his last words were "This is funny." He'd always thought he'd die with his boots on but found himself dying in bed looking at his socks.) Accounts of his Incurable Cough Of Death can be found in the historically inaccurate (but still pretty cool) movie ''Film/{{Tombstone}}'' or [[http://www.badassoftheweek.com/doc.html here]].
* Unfortunately played straight by a few too many TB patients who refuse to take a full course of any antibiotic and help in the development of the multi-drug-resistant strains, and anybody who catches those.
* Averted, Post-nasal drip can cause continuous coughing but by itself wouldn't likely cause death. Have fun scaring people though.
** A rather common symptom of bronchitis, which is not normally fatal, is rusty colored or blood streaked sputum. Which unfortunately is a common sign of pretty much every ER worthy lung disease.
** It's also not entirely difficult to tear a blood vessel in your throat by coughing or vomiting and seeing blood, which doesn't have any serious consequences.
** Prolonged periods of heartburn or other ailments that cause stomach acids to go into the throat (GERD), which can result in the vocal cords making large amounts of mucus to defend itself. This results in a nasty cough that most likely will not harm you.
** A common allergy can be met with advice to "go home before you infect anyone".
* A non-human example: If your computer's hard drive does [[http://datacent.com/hard_drive_sounds.php strange clicking sounds]], you can almost certainly tell that it's doomed.
* Pertussis aka Whooping Cough. It's usually only fatal to infants (which just makes it worse), but even in older kids it can cause fainting, hernias, and rib fracture. It's also very unpleasant to endure, being that the endless deep coughs can make a person ''feel'' like they're dying, even in mild to moderate cases.
* French playwright and actor Molière, who suffered from tuberculosis, is famous for having collapsed into a coughing fit while performing in the last play he wrote, ironically titled ''The Hypochondriac'' (''La Malade imaginaire''). Despite coughing up blood, he insisted on finishing the performance. Afterward he had another fit of coughing and hemorrhaging before being taken home, where he died a few hours later.
* As mentioned above, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinsaku_Takasugi Shinsaku Takasugi]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souji_Okita Souji Okita]].
* Composer and Pianist FryderykChopin was almost as famous for his consumption as he was for his music ''(he finally died of it at age 39)''.
* As mentioned in the ''Manga/RoseOfVersailles'' entry above, both queen Marie Antoinette and her second son Louis Joseph had tubercolosis, with Louis Joseph dying of it (and his illness having a deep impact in the relationship between the royals and the Estates-General due the latter refusal to allow the king and queen to visit their dying son), while Marie Antoinette was executed before it reached that point.
* Cases of cystic fibrosis can cause this, due to the mucus the body produces becoming thicker and clogging the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. Subverted by the fact that treatment for the disease is improving and life expectancy for the affected is much higher than a few decades ago.
* [[UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution General Lazare Hoche]] died of tuberculosis at 28 just a few days after he started coughing violently (and bloodily, according to some accounts). Since his death was very sudden and he was one of the most prominent French generals at that time, there was rumors that he had been, in fact, poisoned, but his autopsy did not support this.
* Wiki/TheOtherWiki says the following about the voice actor [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Varney Jim Varney]]: During the filming of ''Treehouse Hostage'' in August 1998, Varney started developing a bad cough. As the cough became worse, Varney began noticing blood on his handkerchief and, after filming was complete, he went to the doctor. A chain smoker, Varney had developed lung cancer.
* Creator/HenrikWergeland famously died from two-sided pneunomia that chained him to bed for 14 months. It began with a day in April 1844 when he decided to take his jacket off because the weather was bright, but his office accordingly cold (located in the old castle in Oslo). He had a fit of pneunomia, but after two weeks, he decided he was well enough to celebrate the National holiday of May 17, but his sister noticed he was "pale as death" when she saw him strolling downhill to town. After that, the illness returned, and this time, no power in the world could save him. His lungs deteriorated to a point where he passed out and died the following summer. Of course there was a lot of coughing and blood involved. Also possibly lung cancer, not very well known at the time.
* Norwegian painter Nicolai Astrup died of a similar illness in the autumn of 1928, having caught pneunomia after - believe it or not - taking off his jacket in April that year (April in Norway ''can'' be treacherous). Astrup got his because of a car ride, combining hot sunshine with cold airs.
* Unfortunately, it [[http://www.rawstory.com/2016/09/911-related-cancer-is-surging/ seems to be happening 9/11 first responders]]: Their symptoms include all sorts of lung diseases, many types of cancer, and a persistent cough called the "World Trade Center Cough".
* A shorthand that some medical professionals use when assessing patients over 40 is "A persistent cough is cancer until proven otherwise." An unexplained cough that lasts longer than ~2 months can be cancer that has spread to the lungs, so the patient is usually sent for a chest X-ray to rule out that possibility.