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Undignified Death

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This is why you need to upholster your chairs.

That's gonna look real good on his gravestone in Arlington: "Here lies John Rambo — Winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Survivor of countless incursions behind enemy lines. Killed for vagrancy in Jerkwater, USA."
Colonel Trautman, First Blood

Death sucks. That's why most people are afraid of it. Some people die of old age or gradually succumb to one of a number of illnesses. When death comes, the lucky among us will go out peacefully with dignity. Some of us might go out fighting the good fight, saving the lives of some unfortunate person whom our consciences cannot ignore and force us to help. They'll all die "good deaths" (and in some cases, heroic deaths), and in Video Games, they'll be quite the spectacle.

And then there's this.

This trope is about the people who die in ways that are, to put it completely bluntly, ridiculous and embarrassing. The manner of their demise are the things you read about on websites dedicated to the Darwin Awards. The kind of death that ends up the punchline of a joke told by a standup comedian who specializes in Black Comedy.

The humor in this is, of course, subjective — while we might find the way a person joined the Choir Invisible to be humorous and worth a laugh, to the person's family it is a tragedy. The bereaved naturally think you cruel and inhuman for laughing at such a tragedy. It is a tragedy... someone has died, after all. But that doesn't stop it from being funny when you think about it and, well, in some cases, even grieving friends and relatives might readily admit that it is Actually Pretty Funny. If it's played seriously, it's often a source of Bathos.

Sometimes overlaps with Cruel and Unusual Death when the death is not just embarrassing, it's also horrific. Often overlaps with Death by Falling Over. Another likely category of undignified death are victims of The Can Kicked Him, both because a bathroom is usually safe and it takes bizarre circumstances to die there, and because you're likely to be unclothed and/or performing bodily functions. A supertrope to Lame Last Words, since in some cases the last words actually an undignified death make. Also the default consequence of being Too Dumb to Live, since there are few better ways to destroy your dignity than killing yourself through sheer idiocy. See also Dropped a Bridge on Him. Contrast Dying Moment of Awesome, Great Way to Go, and A Good Way to Die.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked and unconcealed ahead. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill!:
  • Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor: Albert kills Burks Blaumohn by throwing knives at him to make him bleed so that the drug in his system will get out. As a result, he dies pathetically from normal bleeding instead of magic.
  • Bleach: Tokinada, villain of the Can't Fear Your Own World light novel, dies when he carelessly leaves the door to his manor open and one of the many, many people whose lives he ruined sneaks in and gets a lucky backstab. All while Mayuri is nearby and completely ignoring him. The complete mundanity of his death prompts Tokinada to laugh at how ridiculous it is that he's being killed by someone who's a literal nobody compared to most of the people who were trying to kill him an hour ago. He then dies content that not only will this deny vengeance to the likes of Tousen, Hisagi or Ginjo, who probably wanted him dead the most, but that he will also die without regretting any of his countless acts of evil, petty dickery and dog-kicking.
  • Blood-C:
    • The extremely beautiful and sweet Kanako Tsutsutori. An Elder Bairn first chomps down on her neck, drawing a spray of blood and causing her to shriek, after which it rips off a chunk of a shoulder and drains her blood, killing her and casting her corpse down to the ground. Her dead body is then shown lying with her thighs spread and her skirt hiked up, exposing her purple panties, while her camisole top has been partially torn, exposing one of her breasts. May also be a subversion of Drop Dead Gorgeous.
    • Before the previously mentioned example occurs, Nene Motoe, after trying to escape an Elder Bairn by pushing her twin sister in its path, gets her just desserts by being hoisted up in the air, her underwear exposed, before being violently torn in half, starting at the crotch, screaming her lungs out all the while.
  • Death Note has this happen at the end of the manga with Light. After spending the entire series as a megalomaniac with a serious god complex, he spends the final chapter going through a massive Villainous Breakdown that ends with him lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood, screaming and begging for someone to save him as Ryuk makes good on his promise in the first chapter and writes Light's name in his own Death Note. The anime at least lets him get the slip from the investigation team eventually to die more quietly somewhere else.
  • Death Parade: Mayu Arita died from slipping in the shower and hitting her head.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly: Paragus receives an even more humiliating death than his non-canon counterpart: Frieza shoots him in the chest while he's leaning on a rock for support. He barely has time to react, he doesn't even get a chance to actually fight anyone, and his death is treated rather quickly and casually. In fact, Frieza didn't even have a valid reason to kill him, just wanting to see if Broly would be angry enough to turn Super Saiyan. Compare to his non-canon counterpart, who is crushed to death in his escape pod by Broly, then thrown into the Comet Camori.
  • Dragon Ball Z tends to treat its cast (especially the villains) unkindly when they die — even those who get relatively 'clean' deaths will usually have their faces contort into bizarre, ridiculous expressions as the fatal blow strikes home. There are a few examples that go above and beyond, though:
    • In the Saiyan Saga, Yamcha defeats one of the Saibaman only for it to spring up when his back is turned, performing a Suicide Attack that abruptly leaves Yamcha as a corpse face-down in the dirt.
    • During the Frieza Saga, after being beaten to a pulp by Frieza and shot through the heart, Vegeta dies while crying his eyes out and begging Goku to kill Frieza and avenge the Saiyans.
    • Frieza's first "death" comes after he chops himself in half with his own attack, immediately after trying to backstab his opponent who had just spared him. This while Goku was actively trying to save him from said attack, too! Goku immediately lampshades it in the manga.
      Son Goku: This is a pathetic end. It isn't worthy of you, even if you did it to yourself...
    • Pui-Pui is effortlessly brutalized and subsequently obliterated by Vegeta while on his home planet, Zoon - a planet that has 10x the gravity of Earth, something Vegeta is completely unaffected by. To add further insult to injury, Vegeta never bothered going Super Saiyan the whole fight.
    • Chi-Chi's death has got to be the most humiliating and pointless, due to the fact that she brought it upon herself. She slaps Super Buu for supposedly killing Gohan. Buu’s response? He promptly turns her into an egg and steps on her in front of her family and friends.
    • Dabura, ruler of the Demon Realm and one of the most powerful demons in the multiverse, is killed by being turned into a cookie and then eaten by Buu.
    • In Future Trunks' Bad Future, Goku died from an unnamed heart virus and couldn't be wish back to life as the Dragon Balls cannot revive a person who died of natural causes. Present Goku is particularly incensed about dying in such a mudane way.
  • Fate/Zero: In life, Diarmuid never got the chance to fulfill his dream of serving his lord faithfully and dying with honor. When given another chance as the Servant Lancer to fight as a knight and serve his Master, History Repeats itself when circumstances similar to his first death lead to his second. Before he could finish his duel with Saber, her Master Kiritsugu (a notorious Combat Pragmatist) holds the fiance of Lancer's Master hostage and forces him to use his remaining Command Spells to have Lancer commit suicide. He does this by stabbing himself with Gáe Dearg which causes him to slowly die in a pool of his own blood. His one wish of falling in battle like an honorable knight crushed, he ends up cursing his fate, the grail, and all those present as he dies.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Big Bad, who had previously almost always held himself with a stoic demeanor, is left weeping and begging to the in-universe God not to send him back beyond the gate he came from. His pleas fall on deaf ears and he spends his last seconds screaming in terror.
  • Getter Robo:
    • Emperor Gore, the main antagonist of the original manga, perishes in this way: after a drag-out battle with the Getter Team and the sudden ambush of the Hyakki Empire that saw Musashi's Heroic Sacrifice, the unveiling of Getter-G, and the destruction of most of his army and the retreat of what remains, he's seen the Dinosaur Empire's presence on Earth be whittled down to just him. Having found a level of respect for his longtime rivals, he decides to make a Last Stand in his tiny, barely-armed ship, a glorious sacrifice to show the valor of his people as the surviving Getter Team prepares to meet him head-on... which is then interrupted by a Hyakki Empire mech firing a volley of spikes and pincushioning him. Even the Getter Team are outraged at the fact that Gore essentially died via Kill Steal to a threat he'd barely interacted with.
    • Seemingly returning the favor, Burai, leader of the Hyakki Empire, returns Back from the Dead in Shin Getter Robo and brags about how merging with a massive mobile base has made him unstoppable. The team decides to resolve the problem by ripping him out of his control module, which, as he was fused to it, results in him being reduced to a limbless, mangled torso before getting squashed like a grape. All this happens in a matter of seconds, and he fails to do any damage at all to the now ludicrously-powerful Shin Getter.
    • Professor Lando, main antagonist of much of Getter Robo Go, gets his whole operation hijacked by the Dinosaur Empire and spends his last moments cowering in the corner, utterly shocked at how thoroughly he's been outclassed as all his contingency plans and self-destruct mechanisms turn out to have been disabled. He's such a mess that he doesn't even respond to an Any Last Words? request before Jatego splits his head in half.
  • Goblin Slayer: Spearman binds Evil Wizard in magic webbing, knocks out several teeth to make him incapable of talking or spellcasting, and then complains to Goblin Slayer and Heavy Warrior about how to get rid of him, to which the former suggests tossing him off the tower and the latter enacts by literally booting him over the railing. While all three make fun of how much of a non-threat he was.
  • Gundam:
  • In the Gungrave anime, Millenion made man Cid Gallarde accepts execution in place of his son who unwittingly assassinated an associate of the organization. When it looks like his former rival turned best friend Bear Walken will kill him, he's poised to Face Death with Dignity, but when Bear can't bring himself to shoot him and lets Brandon do it in his stead, Cid breaks down. He dies weeping his son's name as a relative stranger guns him down.
  • Heavy Object: Acres Kiss-of-Rose gets trapped in a barrel, with his head above the surface, that's filled with pebbles and an expanding adhesive that squeezed his body until he died of shock, with his hair falling out and his face grossly bloating with the tongue hanging out.
  • Hellsing:
    • Incognito, the Big Bad of the first TV anime, is Impaled with Extreme Prejudice in the best tradition of Vlad Tepes' victims, atop the Tower of London for all to see.
    • In the manga and OVA, The Major has his vampire soldiers kill his superior officer by eating the man's entrails while he's Bound and Gagged, dying a sobbing mess.
  • Hunter × Hunter: While Chrollo Lucilfer was borrowing his Nen abilities, Hisoka effortlessly decapitated Kortopi as he was relieving himself on the john.
  • Kakihara, the Villain Protagonist of Ichi the Killer has something of a Rasputinian Undignified Death: He's horrified to have to fight the ferocious Ichi but when he finally gets the guts to go and attack he triggers his opponent's fury and a swift kick from Ichi's razor-bladed shoes leaves him stripped naked and with his dick cut in two. Not cut off, just mangled horribly and painfully. Following this, Kakihara decides he's had enough and tries to flee, managing to jump from the apartment building they were fighting on to end up hanging on another. Ichi pelts him with projectiles while he screams in terror before a bird finally comes to finish him off by shitting on his fingers holding himself up, causing him to lose his grip and fall to his death. Yeah...
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Vanilla Ice deals one to Muhammed Avdol, simply disintegrating him with a charge and eating his remains quickly. Though it is subverted when even he praises Avdol's selflessness, since it was a Heroic Sacrifice, and Ice gets in the receiving end when Polnareff gently pushes the vampire into sunlight while mocking him.
    • His master, DIO, after many years of inflicting pain, terror, and destruction, gets punched in the leg, explodes, and his remains are put into the sunlight.
    • Rudolph Von Stroheim's army in Part 2's final battle. Doesn't get much more undignified than being mauled to death by a mutant squirrel.
    • Yoshikage Kira survives both Josuke and Jotaro, but gets run over by an ambulance.
    • Diavolo gets it even worse than all of them above, by being trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop of infinite undignified deaths. He's shown being stabbed by a homeless junkie, being autopsied while paralyzed but still conscious, and falling into traffic after being startled by a puppy.
    • Sports Maxx is sealed inside a pipeline by Ermes' stand Kiss, where he drowns in raw sewage. In other words, he literally eats shit and dies.
    • Enrico Pucci kills all the main protagonists... only to have his head imploded by Jolyne's Tagalong Kid Emporio Alnino, who tricked Enrico into giving him the Weather Report stand he needed to do it.
    • The Rock Humans in JoJolion are almost all doomed to ridiculous deaths. Being set on fire using their own hair as a wick, a young child's stand confusing them into walking in front of a bus, stabbed to death with high heels, the list goes on. For human villains, there's also Ojiro Sasame, who gets caught by one of Jobin's Speed King traps and is boiled to death in his own pool.
  • In KonoSuba, Kazuma Satou sees what is apparently a truck about to hit a girl, so he rushes over and shoves her out of the way. He wakes up in the afterlife and assumes he sacrificed himself to save her and got run over. Aqua, the goddess who greets him, informs him that it was a slow-moving tractor that was going to stop and the girl was in no danger. He suffered cardiac arrest out of fright because he thought he was about to be run over and soiled himself. To add insult to injury, the doctors and his own family all laughed and mocked him for dying in such a pathetic way. At least he got to come back to life as a hero in a fantasy world.
  • Gai Daigoji from Martian Successor Nadesico, the Hot-Blooded mecha pilot who in a more traditional Humongous Mecha anime would've met his end in a glorious Heroic Sacrifice, is instead shot in the back by a fleeing enemy and left to die 3 episodes in. What's even worse is that he nearly performs a badass Heroic Sacrifice earlier in the episode, only to survive just long enough to suffer a more unceremonious death.
  • The Big Bad, Apos, in Mnemosyne is a Serial Rapist who wants nothing more than to violate Rin, The Heroine and devour the Time Spores of immortal women, killing them and enjoying the flavor of their agony in the process. When he's about to be absorbed by the tree Yggdrasil, Rin takes advantage of his helplessness to shove the Time Spore of a deceased immortal into his vaginanote  before sending him off screaming into the depths of the abyss within Yggdrasil.
  • The stone giant Tessai from Ninja Scroll dies by cleaving his skull open with his own double-edged blade after Jubei cuts off his fingers. On top of that, the reason he dies this way was that he accidentally poisoned himself trying to rape Kagero, whose body is so toxic she can lethally poison a man with a kiss. The poisoning makes Tessai's stone skin fall apart and makes him reckless and demented, leaving himself open to attack and forgetting to catch the blade on its rebound.
  • One Piece.
    • Zoro's childhood best friend and rival, Kuina, died when she tripped down a flight of stairs. Her sudden and random death is a source of angst for Zoro, who found it outrageous a sword fighter as skilled as her and filled with such great ambitions could die in a mundane household accident.
    • Oars the Continent Puller, a gargantuan giant said to be a ferocious beast hailing from a clan of giants who were especially evil, died not from old age or injuries sustained in battle, but by walking around in an extremely cold environment wearing only his loincloth.
    • "Waterfall Beard" Jorul was a hero to the giants and one of the oldest warriors in the setting. He attempted to stop a 5 years old Charlotte Linlin after she went on a food craving rampage through a village. Linlin broke his sword, grabbed him by the beard, and fatally slammed him into the ground. He later expired from his injuries due to his old age. Jorul's death was most disgraceful for an Elbaf warrior and earned Linlin scorn and hatred from giants around the globe. She was only spared out of the respect that the people of Elbaf felt for Mother Carmel, her caretaker.
  • Overlord (2012):
    • The death of the giggling psychopath Clementine at the hands of Ainz Ooal Gown. Being a Fragile Speedster rogue fighting against an undead Elder Lich who No Sells her deadliest attacks, he catches her in a bear hug, and then she has an epic Villainous Breakdown where she beats herself into a bloody mess, ruining her pretty face and breaking her own hands and teeth as she thrashes against Ainz in a futile struggle to break free from his grip. To pile on the humiliation further, Ainz explains to her that he didn't use any magic on her because it would have been a waste of his effort, and he wanted to drag out her death because she always did that to her opponents.
    • A more tragic case is the death of King Ramposa III. When the Sorcerer Kingdom declared war on the Re-Estize Kingdom, he knew his kingdom was doomed and his life was forfeit. Having accepted his death, all he wanted was to face Ainz with dignity as the last king of the Re-Estize Kingdom. Sadly he doesn't even get the chance to surrender to Ainz. Instead, he is stabbed in the back by his own daughter Renner to cement her allegiance to Ainz. Even worse, she kills him with Razor Edge, the National Treasure that had protected the royal family for generations.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The graceful, dignified Mami Tomoe gets overconfident in a fight with the witch Charlotte. Said witch morphs into a giant head, which clamps its jaws down over Mami's face, eventually biting off and devouring Mami's head, throwing her twitching body to the ground. Then Charlotte comes after the body and devours it too.
  • Magistrate Wolfram of Wolfsmund is finally caught by rebel forces after subjecting countless men, women, and children to Cruel and Unusual Deaths in the pass he governs. The masses he oppressed for so long roar in approval as he is sentenced to death by impalement through his ass until the stake comes out his mouth. He smugly tries to talk the rebel forces into sparing him lest they face the wrath of his master, Duke Leopold until it becomes clear they won't barter with him and he breaks down screaming and crying until he is gagged and his punishment carried out. The execution itself is long and drawn out, with Wolfram holding a pained and terrified expression and trying to scream through his gag and blood the whole time.

  • In a Kat Williams stand-up comedy routine, he says that his neighborhood is so bad that even the squirrels are dangerous and that if he does ever get killed by a squirrel, please lie about it.
  • Bill Burr has a bit talking about American macho attitudes. In it, Burr talks about men repressing their emotions and anything that might make them happy, caring, or a more sensitive person. This goes on until one day, with no warning, the stress of it all gives the guy in question an aneurysm in a diner because the cook forgot to put bananas on his pancakes, he smashes his head into a table as he falls over... and the last thing he hears is his friends mocking him for it. ("He got bananas on his pancakes! What a fag!")
  • Dave Chappelle claims he does not like those TV shows that feature real 911 calls because of the potential for embarrassment, acting out a hypothetical call made by himself where he is crying and shitting his pants in terror because there is a murderer in his house, followed by his hypothetical funeral afterward where his friends look down on him for it, having heard the call on TV.
    Friend 1: You hear Dave shit himself right before he died?
    Friend 2: [shaking his head in disappointment] Went out cryin' like a little bitch.
  • Steven Wright's song "Friends of Mine" is a parade of these:
    Eddie was a friend of mine, he was killed playing checkers.
    You know that term "King me"? The other guy wasn't sure what he said.
    Phil was a friend of mine, he was killed walking into a walk-in closet.
    He was walking way too fast and way too far.
    Dennis was a friend of mine, he was killed breaking a wishbone.
    Nobody knows if it was an accident or a suicide, they don't know what he was wishing for.
    Bob was a friend of mine...
    ...nothing happened to him.
    Warren was a friend of mine, he used to play the guitar down in the subway.
    One day he decided to go electric and he plugged into the third rail and he died.
    Paul was a friend of mine, he was killed playing tag.
    Wasn’t really "tag", it was "push"...
    ...near the Grand Canyon.

    Comic Books 
  • Kimura's death in All-New Wolverine isn't particularly embarrassing, but it's not pretty, and certainly not a grand final struggle between her and Laura. Instead, Laura takes advantage of the fact that for all her modifications and immunities, Kimura still needs to breathe, and unceremoniously drowns her in the ocean off Madripoor.
  • Batman:
    • All "Joker Venom" deaths qualify. You die with a huge grin on your face. This all but guarantees your funeral will have to be closed-casket, because otherwise, the mourners will be screaming in terror or laughing their heads off.
    • In Batman (Grant Morrison), Doctor Simon Hurt, leader of the Black Glove, centuries-old founder of the cult of Barbatos, and possible incarnation of Darkseid, is ultimately defeated when he slips on a Banana Peel (dropped by the Joker in the issue prior) and breaks his neck. The Joker then doses him up with venom and buries him alive, while remarking how Hurt never managed to make him laugh.
  • Few would have called Captain Marvel's death undignified; he died with every important hero in the Marvel Universe, and even his hated enemies the Skrulls at his side, mourning and paying their respects. However, when his spirit was met in the afterlife years later, he was rather upset to have died of cancer and not having fallen in battle, being a Proud Warrior Race Guy.
  • Cyclops, the first X-Man, leader and revolutionary, is believed by some to have died in his attempt to stop the Terrigen Mists from killing Mutants. Death of X reveals that he actually died by M-Pox, suffocating when he first encountered the Terrigen Mists. His death horrified Emma Frost so badly that she essentially created that lie.
  • Dynamo5: Captain Dynamo, the world's greatest hero, did not die heroically in some battle or while saving the world. He died in bed, poisoned by the woman he was sleeping with. His body was left with his superhero costumes so people could identify him. Luckily for Captain Dynamo, details of his death were kept a secret from the public.
  • Garth Ennis likes these:
    • Preacher:
      • Marseille, having learned that the organization he's been serving most of his life is a sham, and the heavily inbred descendant of Jesus dies when the Allfather, a man so enormously fat he caused a plane to fail a landing because he wasn't sitting in the middle is pushed from a helicopter, landing on them.
      • The racist asshole sheriff was forced by Jesse's voice-of-God command to "go fuck himself", and committed suicide after he severed his penis and, well, fucked himself.
      • Jesus did not die on the Cross. His resurrection and ascension into Heaven is a well-fabricated lie to cover up his escape. He lived until he was 48 years old and was run over by an offal cart and then, in fact, died.
      • Tulip's father Jake was shot in the back of the head while taking a shit in the woods. A fellow hunter mistook him for a deer.
    • The Punisher: The Russian is (eventually) defeated when Frank manages to trip his morbidly obese neighbor onto him and weigh him down for twenty minutes. His second, final death is better, dropped out of a plane while chained to a nuclear bomb, laughing all the while.
    • In the side-story to The Authority, Kev, an important British government official (actually an alien in disguise) demands to be given a prostitute. Kev's team takes him to one of their houses, where the girl freaks out and runs away to reveal the guy wearing garters, tights and an orange shoved up his ass. The team shoves him into the basement as they've been followed by paparazzi. Unfortunately, it also turns out the house's owner had rescued and kept an adult male tiger in the basement...
    • The Boys: Butcher reveals the less flattering details of superheroes' deaths, including one who drowned in jizz. Another had a live hamster in his rectum.
      • George W. Bush decapitated himself in a bizarre incident involving a chainsaw at his ranch in Texas.
      • Incumbent President Robert "Dakota Bob" Shaefer was killed by a rabid wolverine released by Vic the Veep (he thought it was a pet rabbit). A Vough executive was chewed out for joking the animal was "the best at what he does".
      • Fanatical Nazi superhero and Captain Marvel/Thor knockoff Stormfront was stomped to death, in true Skinhead fashion, by people representing the allied forces during World War II.
    • Jennifer Blood: An Amoral Attorney is killed dressed in, again, tights and with an orange up his ass, and seemingly while engaged in autoerotic asphyxiation.
  • During the climax of the Eppy Thatcher arc of Grendel, villainous Torture Technician and Ignored Enamored Underling Mother Aimee is shot in the back, falls into a giant vat of crushed bananas, and drowns. (Yes, there was a plot reason for the bananas.)
  • When Johnny the Homicidal Maniac isn't giving a Cruel and Unusual Death, it's this. In his Twitter, he mentions he killed someone with a cheeto.
  • Jonah Hex's death is almost deliberately anticlimactic—he was shot by a no-name robber in the middle of a card game while putting on his glasses—but not particularly silly, as an homage to the death of "Wild Bill" Hickok. However, the final fate of his corpse certainly is: he was embalmed, stuffed, put in a goofy outfit, and turned into a roadside attraction.
  • It's hard to imagine a more undignified death than having your gonads bit off by Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space.
  • Cypher getting shot in New Mutants had shades of this. He died in the background from a gutshot while a massive battle was being waged.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Spider-Man: Carl King/The Thousand, one of Peter's bullies who became a Hive Mind of spiders. He shows up, talks a big game... and then Spider-Man electrocutes all but one to death. That final spider escapes, vowing revenge- only to immediately get stepped on by a bystander. And that was the end of Carl King, no clones, alternate universe counterparts, or resurrections of any sort.
  • In Spider-Verse an alternate version of Spider-Cat is drained of its life force by Bora after being used to taunt Brix that she got the kill and he didn't.
  • Almost every death scene in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers is undignified, as part of the comic's Deconstruction of War Is Glorious. Rotorstorm gets his brains blown out about ten seconds into the mission. The Jumpstarters die switching on a computer. Snare is shot in the head and spends a few moments rolling in agony before being Mercy Killed. Pyro makes a stand against a Decepticon horde to save his friends and gets graphically ripped to shreds in lieu of a glorious Last Stand. Ironfist survives the mission... just to die of a brain aneurysm a day later. These are just the main characters that die; many of the supporting cast and extras get even worse.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Father Gabriel's death is a mix between being undignified and Epic Fail. After finally being trusted to go out on the battlefield on his very first mission, Gabriel is assigned to be a lookout for Alexandria but manages to immediately screw up by falling off his guard tower, breaking his leg, getting said broken leg caught on the ladder which suspends him in the air, flailing helplessly while he desperately cries for help, and ultimately ends with him being found and Gutted Like a Fish by Beta. To add even more insult to injury, his corpse is then devoured by walkers.
    • Rick Grimes, of all people, finally loses his Plot Armor in the final couple of issues of the series and gets unceremoniously shot in his bed by Sebastian Milton. What makes this truly undignified is that Sebastian didn't check his handiwork before running away, which led to Rick dying by bleeding to death, reanimating, and being blown away by his son Carl the morning after when he went to check on his dad — and Carl put a bullet in Rick's head out of reflex, not noticing that it was his father until a few seconds later. To make things even more undignified, Rick Grimes, a Fair Cop and rugged leader-type with a manly beard, died in a simple T-Shirt and boxers.
  • Some characters in Watchmen die within some inconvenient ways. Dollar Bill was killed by a regular thug when his cape got stuck in a revolving door. The Silhouette was found dead with her lesbian lover hacked up in their bed. Masochistic supervillain Captain Carnage (who gets his kicks off of provoking superheroes into beating him up) died when he tried this tactic on Rorschach, who promptly dropped him down an elevator shaft.
  • In Silver Surfer (1999), after battling with one of Thanos's monsters, it is transformed into a tiny furry creature. Later, when encountered by Nebula, she notes how the pathetic creature at her feet had fought well for her father, and then nonchalantly crushes it beneath her boot.
  • White Tiger: When White Tiger (Hector Ayala) was wrongfully arrested for murder, during the trial, despite his lawyer Matt Murdock's best efforts, he was convicted. Hector had a breakdown and tried to escape the courtroom, but was shot down by guards. The only good thing that happened was that Matt is able to find evidence that proves his innocence after his death. It is clear that Hector's friends and family love and miss him, and they respect his memory.

    Comic Strips 
  • A Running Gag in Pearls Before Swine:
    • Rat's father died when a circus clown hit him with a seltzer bottle.
    • Hobarth, a model train engineer, died when a balloon he was holding lifted him up into a ceiling fan.
    • Leonard got his head stuck in a toilet and drowned.
    • To say nothing of the embarrassing ways many, many Crocs have met their ends.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Coco:
    • Initially, Hector believes that he died of food poisoning (by eating chorizo, which is a Mexican pork sausage and [because of its thickness] Mexican slang for male genitalia, which makes him a laughingstock) until it's revealed that he was poisoned to death by his own childhood friend Ernesto de la Cruz.
    • Ernesto died in 1942 when he was crushed by a falling bell at the conclusion of a live performance of the song he murdered Hector for, "Remember Me", due to a stagehand leaning on the wrong lever.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Amélie, the title character's mother dies when a tourist committing suicide via freefall lands on her.
  • In the educational film Apaches, Tom drowns in liquefied cow dung due to falling into a slurry pit.
  • In Captain Ron, Martin and Katherine are having sex in the shower when: the door gets stuck, the drain gets clogged, and the shower handle breaks. The shower starts rapidly filling with water. They get rescued before they drown, but Katherine comments that would have been a very sucky way of dying.
  • In Clerks:
    • Randal's cousin Walter.
      Dante: What an embarrassing way to die.
      Randal: That's nothing compared to how my cousin Walter died.
      Dante: How did he die?
      Randal: He broke his neck.
      Dante: That's embarrassing?
      Randal: He broke his neck trying to suck his own dick!
    • Then there's the old man who died while masturbating in the Quick Stop's bathroom. To make matters worse, someone had sex with his corpse. (By accident. She didn't know he was dead, and was very traumatized when she found out.)
  • The eponymous death in The Death of Dick Long results from massive internal injuries caused by sex with a horse, inspired by the real-life death of Kenneth Pinyan.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has the characters using a Speak with Dead spell to interrogate the corpses of various barbarians who died in a pivotal battle. Though several barbarians have comically abrupt deaths (forcing the group to find someone else who saw what happened afterward), one of them, Sven Salafin, takes the cake when he admits that he actually died on the morning before the battle, when he got out of the tub, slipped, and cracked his skull.
  • Jobu Tupaki, main antagonist of Everything Everywhere All at Once, introduces herself by using her abilities as a Reality Warper to subject a group of cops to these, culminating in her killing the last one by beating him to death with a pair of dildos.
  • The Final Destination: Carter Daniels, the racist tow truck driver who tried to burn a cross in the backyard of a black survivor, ends up being dragged by his own vehicle, screaming and ablaze, while War (Band)'s "Why Can't We Be Friends?" plays in the background. The trails of fire eventually reach the truck's gas tank, causing it to explode, blowing Carter to pieces.
  • All of the jihadis in Four Lions end up blowing themselves up in stupid ways. For example one of them blows himself up by accident by tripping while trying to cross over a fence with explosives in hand.
  • The title group of The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight end up with four of their own members dead when they try to kill their mob boss, Antonio "Baccala" Vestrummo, and/or his right-hand man, Water Buffalo. Two of the deaths are particularly embarrassing:
    • The gang acquires a stick of remotely-activated dynamite to put under Water Buffalo's car. They pose as a demolition crew with a "blasting in progress" sign advising passers-by not to use short-wave radios in case they activate the dynamite. A police car passes by, forcing the gang to act innocent while the one with the dynamite hides in the sewer next to Water Buffalo's car; one of the officers starts to radio his precinct, and... BOOM!
    • Shortly thereafter, another gang member climbs a utility pole outside Baccala's office window, armed with a throwing knife. He raises the knife... straight into a high-voltage cable, fatally electrocuting himself.
  • Pincus of Ghost Town acquired his ability to see ghosts after a near-death experience during a colonoscopy.
  • Godzilla: Final Wars: Zilla is given one as a very spiteful Take That! at the character's first American remake. In less than a minute, the original Godzilla tail-slaps them to the Sydney Opera House and blasts them with his atomic breath. Zilla's final words being an undignified "EEEE!". The Xillian Commander that sent Zilla to fight reacts to this failure by throwing a tantrum and calling them a "useless tuna head".
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): King Ghidorah meets his end when Fire Godzilla destroys his entire body, leaving one head alive due to his Bizarre Alien Biology. Godzilla then chomps him from the neck stump and Ghidorah attempts to get by flailing before Godzilla's atomic breath destroys him. For an alien dragon that almost destroyed the planet, Ghidorah's death is almost comical.
  • High Risk: "The Doctor", the Mad Bomber leader of the thieves-pretending-to-be-terrorists of the film, manages to escape the final battle with only a little cut to show for it and calls the hero Li to gloat that he will continue to terrorize in the future… and that is when he starts to bleed from the nose. Turns out that the knife was coated in snake venom and the Doctor is too late to administer the antidote. He dies slowly and in agony, and to add complete insult to injury he encounters some people that disregard his pleas for help to steal his shoes, money and jewelry and dump him on the side of the road.
  • In Hot Rod, Rod had always thought his father died testing a jump for Evel Knievel. In reality, he choked on a pie.
  • James Bond:
  • In A Jolly Bad Fellow, Prof. Bowles-Ottery advances his career by poisoning inconvenient colleagues with an untraceable substance he has discovered that induces hysteria and manic behaviour followed by death. Not only do his victims die, but their bizarre behaviour immediately before their deaths completely destroys their reputations.
  • Donald Gennaro from Jurassic Park gets eaten by a T-Rex while on the toilet.
  • In Kill Bill, Pai Mei, a Chinese Old Master of Supernatural Martial Arts, strong enough to punch through solid wood from only three inches away, agile enough to balance on an opponent's sword, and implied to have lived since 1003 AD... dies from poison added in his evening fish head casserole. All he can do in his last moments is lie sputtering ineffectual threats as Elle, sans her right eye, stands over him and gloats. Don't feel too bad, after all, Pai Mei was the one who plucked out her eye.
    • Budd's death is also fairly pathetic, falling for a booby trap (a snake in a briefcase full of money), and writhing in agony as his assassin (again, Elle) taunts his final moments. Bonus points considering the once top-flight international assassin ended his days living completely alone, in squalor, and working a humiliating job.
  • Jack "The Hat" McVitie in the Peter Medak crime film "The Krays". Screaming in terror, then begging and blubbering, and none of it did him any good.
  • Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen: Chen Zen's first kill in the dojo finale is Chikaraishi's lieutenant, who receives a fatal punch through the nuts.
  • Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels: Soap tells the story of Smithy Robinson, an old geezer who was beaten to death with a "15-inch black rubber cock" as a cautionary tale of what happens to the people that don't pay Hatchet Harry what they own him.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, Slit is the villainous spear-throwing Evil Counterpart to the Heel–Face Turn performing War Pup driver Nux. Early in the film, he tries to rob Morsov of his Heroic Sacrifice by performing a Kill Steal and decries Morsov's attempt as "mediocre", a severe insult among Immortan's War Boys. Slit eventually dies as a footnote in the final battle of the film, his car crushed between the War Rig and a large tanker while screaming "VALHALLA!" like a feral animal. It's not even clear that Furiosa was trying to squash him; he got himself killed through stupid driving and nobody participating in the battle witnessed his last moments or even was aware that he died. Mediocre, Slit.
  • "Ditto" Stiles, one of the High School teachers in the Nick Nolte/Ralph Macchio black comedy Teachers, suffers a fatal heart attack at his desk, in the middle of class. What makes his death qualify for this trope is that the class period ends, and three more class periods come and go, before anyone (be it a student or a fellow teacher) notices that he's dead.
  • The Ruling Class begins with Ralph Douglas Christopher Alexander Gurney, the thirteenth Earl of Gurney, accidentally hanging himself attempting auto-erotic asphyxiation. While wearing a tutu.
  • Shaolin Martial Arts: The Dragon dies from getting his eyes gouged out, and then kicked in the nuts, which sends him flying across a hall. In his death throes, he alternates between clutching at his bleeding eyes and his squished balls.
  • In Star Trek: Generations, Captain Kirk dies when a small metal bridge falls on him, and he is buried under a small pile of stones on an uninhabited planet. On the other hand, in the process, he saved an entire planetary system from destruction.
  • Star Wars:
    • Jabba in Return of the Jedi is choked to death by a slave (Leia of course) using the very chain he restrained her with.
    • From the same movie, and a major point of contention among fans, Boba Fett's demise. He gets unceremoniously knocked into the Sarlacc pit by a Han who can barely see. Which then belches loudly. note 
    • Whereas his apprentices had at least some dignity in their final moments, each of the three either getting some measure of closure with their mortal enemy (Maul), facing his death with dignity after being betrayed (Dooku), and getting to see his son with his own eyes and fully turn back to the side of good in his final moments (Vader), with all three having had something in the direction of a final stand beforehand via some sort of fight, Palpatine's death on the Death Star involved him being grabbed by Vader and thrown into a bottomless pit. All the while screaming.
  • A Shocking Accident is a short film based on a story by Graham Greene. The plot involves a young man whose father died in an embarrassing manner — a pig fell out of a window and hit him on the head. The film shows the man's futile efforts to describe the circumstances of his father's death in a way that won't cause the listener to crack up with laughter. At the end of the story, he realizes that his girlfriend is the right partner for him when she listens to his description and responds seriously and with empathy. In a case of Strange Minds Think Alike, she inquires about what happened to the pig, which is the first thing the guy wondered when he was first told about his father's death.
  • The Suicide Squad starts off with an absolute flurry of these, as Team A gets almost completely wiped out in their doomed first mission. Weasel starts drowning right after the team airdrops into the water (though The Stinger reveals him to have survived, but fallen unconscious), Blackguard immediately announces he's sold the team out and gets shot in the face by enemy troops, Javelin and TDK are simply riddled with bullets while failing to accomplish much of anything (though Javelin at least gets some dignity in passing on his weapon), Mongal uses her Super-Strength to jump up and bring down a helicopter, but clearly overestimates her ability to survive the crash (which also reduces an injured Captain Boomerang to a pile of giblets), and Savant, after seeing all this chaos unfold, has his cool facade shatter as he turns into a screaming, blubbering mess and leaps into the ocean to swim for his life, ignoring Waller repeatedly pointing out the Explosive Leash he's on, which ends predictably. The credits even play over their various mangled corpses in Bloody Hilarious fashion, complete with Savant being nibbled on by a bird a lot like the one he killed in his Establishing Character Moment.
  • Sweetie: This happens to Sweetie when she insists on jumping in the tree house so hard the floor starts to shake. The house finally breaks and Sweetie does not survive the fall from the tree.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Live-Action 90s Trilogy:
    • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Shredder (aka Oroku Saki) gets an undignified defeat at the hands of Splinter, being tossed over the rooftops by Splinter's singular nunchuck move and falling into a garbage truck compactor which Casey Jones pulls the lever with a comedic "Oops!" to crush Shredder in a cube. This is actually invoked by Splinter, who believes that Shredder doesn't deserve to die with honor since he killed Hamato Yoshi, Splinter's former owner, with dishonorable tactics.
    Splinter: "Death comes for us all, Oroku Saki, but something much worse comes for you. For when you die, it will be... without honor."
  • This is Spın̈al Tap:
    • The band's first drummer, John "Stumpy" Pepys, died in a "bizarre gardening incident" that the authorities said was "best left unsolved."
    • His replacement, Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs, died of choking on vomit that might not have been his own.
  • In the 2005 War of the Worlds film, Harlan Ogilvy goes insane after several days of hiding in a basement, and Ray is forced to kill him when his screams threaten to draw the aliens to them. He spends his last moments ranting about getting revenge on the aliens and wishing death on Ray and Rachel, and we don't even see his death, we just hear him screaming as Ray kills him.
  • The plot of World's Greatest Dad kicks off when the protagonist finds his Jerkass teenage son dead from auto-erotic asphyxiation and makes it look like a romantic suicide to avoid embarrassment.
  • In the 1966 all-star comic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Wrong Box, ten of the twenty competitors for the tontine fall victim to this in a series of vignettes at the beginning of the film. In order:
    • Artillery sergeant Brian Allen Harvey orders his men to fire a cannon, oblivious to the fact that he is standing directly in the line of fire.
    • Amateur falconer Sydney Whitcombe Sykes is attacked by his own bird when he gives the order to kill.
    • Intrepid explorer Ian Scott Fife plants a Union Flag on a mountaintop which promptly gives way under him.
    • Naval officer Leicester Young-Fielding is hit squarely in the face by the ceremonial bottle of champagne at the christening of a ship.
    • Army officer Alan Frazer Scrope is sounding the charge on a bugle when a native arrow flies down the bell of the instrument.
    • Industrialist James Whyte Wragg, investigating claims that his coal mine is unsound, is crushed by falling debris after he taps a support post with his cane.
    • Big game hunter Oliver Pike Harmsworth tells his guide that he will not shoot a rhinoceros until it is actually charging, unaware that it has long since started doing so.
    • Vyvyan Alistair Montague, upon dropping a handkerchief to signal the start of a pistol duel, is turned on and shot by the two duellers.
    • Elderly, wheelchair-bound industrialist Derek Lloyd Peter Digby is pushed down a hill by his son, who wishes to inherit his fortune early.
    • Newly-knighted Sir Robert Park Collingwood is accidentally decapitated during the conferral of his knighthood by Queen Victoria.

  • Adrian Mole once met a somewhat mentally disturbed woman whose father died because a dog fell on his head in Torremolinos. Of course, everyone she tells this story will laugh about it, Adrian included.
  • Invoked in A Christmas Carol, where Ebeneezer Scrooge is shown that he will have on in his Bad Future, Dying Alone with no one to care or remember him after treating everyone in life so terribly. Thankfully, seeing such an event inspires him to change that.
  • In Anansi Boys, Mr. Nancy's was singing karaoke at an island bar at the time of his death, and as he dies, his last act is to pull off the bikini top of a comely audience member. It's clear that Nancy thinks of this as a great joke, but when his son, the protagonist, learns about it, he sees it as yet another example of his father being embarrassing.
  • In Ascendance of a Bookworm, Urano Motosu lived for books. Then died for them too after an earthquake shook up the messy books around her and crushed her to death. Her last thought was that she hoped she could read more books in her next life.
  • In Ptolemy's Gate from The Bartimaeus Trilogy Bartimaeus is forcefully trapped in a silver tureen of fish soup and has a ceiling dropped on it to prevent him from prying the lid off; his final thoughts before blacking out are lamenting how this was a pathetic way to die. The death part is subverted when the soup insulates him from the effects of the silver long enough for his master to summon him back.
  • Many of the villains in Carl Hiaasen's novels. The stand-out is one who drowned by being held underwater by a sexually-deviant dolphin that wanted to have its way with him.
  • Carnosaur: Unlike the more action-packed deaths of the other dinosaurs, the Megalosaurus is disposed of in a rather anti-climactic way, as it gets run over by a truck as if it was any modern-day roadkill.
  • Discworld: During Carpe Jugulum, Igor mentions that his ancestor died from a whole herd of buffaloes falling on him. The exact details, however, aren't described; it was apparently embarrassing enough that the family doesn't like to talk about it.
  • Dr. No sees the titular villain be buried under a literal ton of guano, aka bat shit.
  • James' parents in James and the Giant Peach were eaten by a rhinoceros. Not merely killed by a rhino (which is improbable enough given that they lived in southern England), but eaten by one.
  • Several characters in ghostgirl have this in their backstories. For example, Charlotte choked on a gummy bear while CoCo got drunk, vomited in her handbag, and ended up drowning in her vomit when she passed out into the bag.
  • Goblins in the Castle: Goblins on the Prowl introduces Werdolphus the ghost, who eventually reveals that he used to work at Toad-in-a-Cage Castle as part of the cleaning staff, but he also wanted to impress Hulda, another of the castle staff, by making her laugh. One day, he was dusting the Baron's cannonball collection when he turned to try and make Hulda laugh... but lost his balance, accidentally pulled one of the cannonballs down, and died when it landed on his head, which is why it's his Haunted Fetter. He's too embarrassed by this to admit the truth until he has no other choice, as payment for Flegmire's help.
  • In Illuminatus!, one of the old Nazis (presumably Hitler), who is hoping to gain immortality through a mass-sacrifice ritual, dies on the toilet with his pants around his ankles when the plan is foiled.
  • Into the Drowning Deep: The Egomaniac Hunter Michi is killed, slowly and unpleasantly, by poisoning from a bullet that ricochets off a contaminated surface and wings her. This devastates her husband, who had always expected them to be brought down together by one of their big game quarries.
  • Lord of the Rings has a few, but the biggest one has to be Saruman. The powerful wizard, Leader of the White Council, Master of Isengard, and most senior of the Istari, dies after getting shanked by his own manservant in the middle of a backwater midget village that's completely irrelevant to the world at large.
  • The short stories from the Machine of Death anthologies provide several examples. Though in some cases the "undignified" part is suggested rather than confirmed since the predicted death has not yet come to pass and the Machine doesn't give that much detail.
    • Patrice in "Flaming Marshmallow" thinks that the titular death is going to be one of these.
    • The protagonist of "Vegetables" fantasizes about his boorish co-worker electrocuting himself by drooling into a power outlet.
    • A mathematician mentioned in "Cassandra" received an "unlikely and unpleasant" death prediction involving "sex and horses". Yes, it happened as predicted. (Doubles as a Noodle Incident.)
    • From "Natural Causes", the death prediction "on the john".
    • "Machine of Death" shows us a few, including "a boy accidentally shorting out an electric fence while trying to spray-paint his name on a cow", and a woman who crashes her car because she's eating a burger while driving.
    • "Monsters from the Deep" mentions that very few people would publicly admit to getting a death prediction like "IMPALED BY BRATWURST".
  • In Ian Fleming's The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga is said to have forced one of his wounded victims to crawl over and lick his boots before he'd finish him off. (The film version of From Russia with Love has Grant threaten James Bond with this same death.)
  • The poem "Problems with Hurricanes" by Víctor Hernández Cruz suggests that the biggest danger people face from hurricanes is the chance of being lethally impacted by flying fruit.
  • The aptly-named Villain "Assassin" from the web serial A Practical Guide to Evil is well known for his tendency to portray kills as technically possible, but ridiculously unlikely "accidents": for instance, an enemy Nobleman somehow drowning in their own chamber pot.
    • Lampshaded in that since everyone knows it's his modus operandi, no one suspects it's him when he just kills someone "normally".
  • In "The Ballad of the King's Mercy", by Rudyard Kipling, the King of Afghanistan humiliates his Captain of the Guard and provokes him into an unsuccessful assassination attempt. His punishment is to be stoned almost to death... but not to die until he swallows his pride and calls out blessings on the King's name.
  • In The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, Shen Yuan died of food poisoning in the middle of furiously ranting about a trashy stallion webnovel series. It also turns out that Shang Quinghua suffered a similarly undignified death when he accidentally electrocuted himself while plugging in something.
  • In David Eddings' The Shining Ones, a hit is put out on one Avin Wargunsson: diminutive and little-loved heir to the Thalesian throne who was abusing his power and was a general embarrassment to his country. The people assigned to the job decide on a whimsical method. They bring in a barrel of expensive red wine, claiming it is for him, open the barrel, then proceed to stick him inside and nail the lid shut. Given the general dislike of the guy, he isn't found until several days later. He was described as still being significantly purple during the funeral, and despite their best efforts, the entire congregation ended up breaking down in laughter. Anyone else who heard the story eventually ended up doing the same; it was that funny to them. There was some regret by at least the two killers. They wasted a perfectly good barrel of wine!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Tyrion Lannister kills his father, Tywin, while the latter is on the privy. He even shits himself when he dies. Making it worse, Tyrion killed him by shooting him in the bowels with an arrow. The dead prostitute in his bed didn't help.
    • Viserys Targaryen dies after getting molten gold dumped on his head by Khal Drogo, after whimpering and begging for his life.
    • A historical example from the same universe turns up in Fire & Blood: Criston Cole, Lord Commander of Aegon II's Kingsguard, finds his forces trapped by a numerically superior enemy army. Out of desperation and pride in his abilities as a warrior, he tries to challenge the enemy commanders to a three-on-one Trial by Combat. They retort that they won't allow Cole any possible romanticisation of his death, since he's partly responsible for starting the civil war they're fighting, then have their archers kill Cole.
      Ser Pate of Longleaf: I'll have no songs about how brave you died, Kingmaker. There's tens of thousands dead on your account.
    • Aenys I died of a bowel illness at the age of thirty-five, brought on by stress.
    • Aegon IV "the Unworthy" Targaryen. While many kings are fat, Aegon's weight actually caught up with him. By the end of his reign, he was so morbidly obese he could not rise from his seat, which was covered in his feces. His arms were rotten and infested with "flesh-worms" (i.e. maggots). The maesters tried to give him the milk of the poppy, but it could not alleviate his pain, and he died at the age of 49. The septons considered his fate a judgment from the gods- and one can't deny he deserved it.
    • Luthor Tyrell, who rode off a cliff while hawking because he was not paying attention to where his horse was going. Tyrion wonders if his wife, Olenna, was making it up (since the late Robert Baratheon was indirectly killed during his hunting trip), but she seems to be genuine. He also wonders if it was a form of suicide so Lord Luthor could get away from his wife.
    • While Oberyn Martell's manner of death is more horrifying than embarrassing, the lead-up to it is. He could have killed Gregor Clegane by spearing him after he is mortally wounded, but instead spends his last moments demanding Clegane to confess to his murder of his sister Elia. Clegane ends up tripping him, then kills him in the same manner as Elia's.
  • In the book Straight to Hell by Michelle Scott, Lilith Straight is killed while crossing the street because she was so busy texting a dirty picture to her stepsister that she walked in front of an oncoming car.
  • "The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wizard Malkuril" by Scott Lynch: The titular Archmage roamed the galaxy for centuries, took naps in stars, decided to settle down, depopulated a nice-looking planet, fashioned a vast Mage Tower with entire races of slaves at his beck and call, tripped on his slippers, and died of a Staircase Tumble. His body lay rotting for six months before anyone dared touch it.
  • This occurs frequently in Tim Dorsey's Serge Storms books. Some notable examples include having one's circulation cut off by excessively shrunk blue jeans, getting blown up by an exploding Thanksgiving turkey, and being flogged to death with a water wiggle.
  • In The Tomorrow Series, Chris goes missing for most of the book. At the end of said book, the group finds his totaled car and decomposing body, and it becomes apparent that he got drunk and rolled the car. Most of the other main characters die from Heroic Sacrifices.
  • In one Warhammer novel, an empire soldier is killed by the way of being impaled on the spikes of an Ork Warboss helmet. As in, the Ork Warboss discarded the helmet and it just happened to land on the soldier.
  • Empress Shayla from The Wrath Of Ambar delights in killing in the most obscene and torturous ways.
    • In one particularly gruesome scene, she forces a slave child to lick her boots clean. While he's busy cleaning one of her boots, she raises the other and stomps on his head. The stomp is so brutal that it cracks the child's skull open. Dazed and brain damaged, the child continues to lick his own blood off Shayla's boot which absolutely delights the empress. She allows the humiliation to continue for a moment longer before growing bored and once again stomping on his head, this time making sure to grind the child's skull beneath her boot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed by Arvin Sloane in Alias with who he thought was Anna Espinosa. 'Anna' Espinosa claimed that instead of facing Sydney in some final epic melee with her going out as a warrior, she simply shot Sydney in the back. Arvin himself says that Sydney deserved more than an 'anonymous bullet'. As it turns out, the real Sydney was alive and speaking to Sloane, and it was Sydney who had shot Espinosa in the back of the head.
  • At the end of Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Big Bad known as The Clairvoyent , AKA John Garrett, survives a critical injury to his chest (and Left for Dead) long enough to reach a machine to give him an armored power-up...only to be vaporized mid-sentence from Coulson shooting him from behind with a bazooka-sized laser gun.
  • Lindsey McDonald in Angel who is unceremoniously shot by Angel's "flunkie" Lorne rather than Angel himself, who he considers a Worthy Opponent.
  • Arrow: Laurel Lance/ Black Canary dies while being helplessly immobilized by a telekinetic villain before getting Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by one of Green Arrow's arrows.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Giuseppe "Gyp" Rosetti's ignoble demise: literally stabbed in the back by his right-hand man, while urinating and singing ''Barney Google With The Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes''.
  • Boo, Bitch!: Gia gets crushed by a roadkill moose that was sent flying by a truck. To make things even sillier, she and Erica spend the next few weeks trying to preserve her body, which is still under a dead moose, using ice to prevent decomposition and hot sauce to prevent it from being eaten by scavengers.
  • In The Borgias, King Charles VIII of France (having managed to get home safely after several encounters with the eponymous family, which is quite a feat in itself) dies by accidentally bashing his head on a door lintel, which he somehow managed despite being very short. The two cardinals who bring this news to Rodrigo are trying unsuccessfully not to laugh, but Rodrigo himself doesn't see anything remotely funny about it, says the dead king had more steel in him than both the cardinals put together, and gives them a penance for their lack of respect.
  • The Boys (2019):
    • Stormfront is reduced to a charred, limbless husk by a seven-year-old and commits suicide in the hospital by biting her tongue off.
    • Termite accidentally kills his partner by sneezing and shifting back to his normal size while still in the man's urethra.
    • Kimiko fatally impales several Russian gangsters with dildos.
    • One of the Russian compound guards sent to deal with The Boys gets mauled to death by a hamster. A superpowered hamster, but still.
  • In Cheers, Carla's former Boston Bruin goalkeeper husband Eddie LeBec died after being run over by a Zamboni while trying to push a fellow cast member of the ice show he was reduced to working at out of the way. This death along with the subsequent revelation that he was a bigamist was deliberate on the part of the writers after Jay Thomas insulted Rhea Perlman's attractiveness on his radio show.
  • Dead Gorgeous: In "Grendel's Cold", it is revealed that Grendel did not die in battle as she always claimed, but rather from a cold she contracted on the way to the battle. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, the cold returns to haunt her.
  • Dead Like Me:
    • In the very first episode, George dies after getting hit by a toilet seat that broke off of Space Station MIR as it reentered Earth's atmosphere.
    • The Gravelings caused Rube Goldberg-esque chain reactions that caused bizarre, comical, and very undignified deaths for many of the show's victims.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Almost happens to the Doctor in ""The Doctor Dances", had his ploy not worked.
      The Doctor: Go to your room! I mean it. I am very, very angry with you. I'm very, very cross. Go... to... your... room!
    • And another almost happens to Jackie Tyler in "The Christmas Invasion":
      Jackie: I'm gonna be killed by a Christmas treee!
  • In Frasier, Roz tells Frasier the following story:
    "Lupe Vélez, the movie star in the '30s. Well, her career hit the skids, so she decided she'd make one final stab at immortality. She figured if she couldn't be remembered for her movies, she'd be remembered for the way she died. All Lupe wanted was to be remembered. So, she plans this lavish suicide - flowers, candles, silk sheets, white satin gown, full hair, and makeup, the works. She takes the overdose of pills, lays on the bed, and imagines how beautiful she's going to look on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper. Unfortunately, the pills don't sit well with the enchilada combo plate she sadly chose as her last meal. She stumbles to the bathroom, trips, and goes head-first into the toilet, and that's how they found her." note 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Life has not been very kind to House Stark in that they leave it harshly. Their deaths were so brutal that they came to a point where some of it disgusted even some of their enemies.
    • Like in the book series, Tywin Lannister, one of the most powerful and feared men in Westeros, is fatally shot with a crossbow while he's using the privy. It doesn't help that there's a dead prostitute in his bedroom.
  • All four main characters on The Good Place suffered incredibly humiliating deaths shortly before the start of the series that were erased from their memories to ease their transition into the afterlife:
  • True to the name, the "Stupid Deaths" skits on Horrible Histories showcase historical deaths that were extremely embarrassing.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Whereas Wilson Fisk, Diamondback, Harold Meachum, and Billy Russo are all defeated in an epic fist fight with the main hero, Kilgrave has a much more mundane resolution: Jessica just unceremoniously snaps his neck.
  • Mad Men:
    • Miss Ida Blankenship drops dead at her desk of unknown causes. It happens while Don is in the middle of an important client meeting. Her corpse has to be removed from her desk by Joan, Megan, Peggy, and Pete while covered up with an afghan made by Harry's mother, with the clients being none the wiser until Harry comes in, sees what they're doing, and protests "My mother made that!"
      • "She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She's an astronaut." - Bert Cooper. Said by the man who later dies whilst watching the moon landing...
    • Lane Pryce tries to kill himself by pumping car exhaust into his brand-new Jaguar, but the car will not start. He ends up hanging himself on his office door and is not discovered for 12 hours. The other partners have to force his body aside to open the door so they can cut him down. It's definitely not how the dignified British gentleman would want to be remembered.
    • Roger Sterling's mother:
      "How did she die?"
  • In the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust", while dressed as "Peter the Peanut", Chuckles the Clown is killed by a rogue elephant who tried to "shell" him.
    "You know how hard it is to stop after just one peanut!"
  • In Monarch of the Glen, an eccentric elderly character is pike-fishing with dynamite, when his dog (which he was training to fetch unsuccessfully all episode) decides he wants the explosives back. His last words are "Oh."
  • NewsRadio: A coworker no one can remember, "Ted", is asphyxiated after hours when his tie gets caught in the copy machine.
  • 1000 Ways to Die frequently showcases this trope, as the show is all about deaths that are unusual, gruesome, or both. Examples include men being killed in toilet-related accidents, and other people being killed by or during sexual acts.
  • In Reservation Dogs, Bear's Spirit Advisor William Knifeman died after his horse tripped in a gopher hole at the Battle of Little Big Horn and fell on him before he ever got to fight Custer and his men.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Defied in an episode hosted by John Mulaney, who presents a Parody Commercial for a "toilet death ejector" that prevents senior citizens from dying on the toilet, shooting them back into their beds with a book in their hands so they appear to have died reading instead. The ejector isn't flawless, though, so the seniors may end up with their corpses smacking against the wall instead, and they'll still likely have their pants around their ankles and some traces of excrement.
    • One Halloween Episode with Chance the Rapper has Chance as one of four ghosts who sing about their deaths, except Chance is noticably vague about how he died. When everybody else prompts him to explain his death, he admits his insides fried up when he stuck a lightning rod up his anus during a lightning storm to fulfill his fetish of being electrocuted up there.
  • Gigi Cestone from The Sopranos suffers a heart attack while constipated on a strip club toilet and surrounded by porn magazines. The series finale puts it best:
    Tony (to Agent Harris): Gigi died takin' a shit!
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In the episode "The House of Quark", a Klingon named Kozak dies when he gets drunk in a bar, pulls out a knife to try to stab the bartender, trips, and accidentally impales himself with his own blade. His grieving brother actually encourages Quark to lie and say he killed him in personal combat, as the truth about his death would be an embarrassment to the family. It soon transpires this wasn't Kozak's brother, but his rival, and Kozak's sorry death for once would've been a good thing since his wife would've kept control of their house per Klingon law.
    • Later on in the same episode, Quark tries to invoke this to fix everything. Klingon honor requires he fight Kozak's rival, but Quark refuses to fight at all, robbing the situation of any potential glory or honor. It works.
    • The Vorta Keevan is dramatically introduced in "Rocks and Shoals", in which he casually sacrifices his Jem'hadar troops to ensure his own survival. Then he dies in "The Magnificent Ferengi", in a chain of events that involves being hauled along to be traded for Quark's mother, accidentally shot during an argument over money, reanimated by remote control so they can trade him anyway, and finally left to continue bumping into a bulkhead on a deserted space station until either the electrical stimulation of his brain gives out, or his legs do. It's hard to feel sorry for him at any point in these proceedings.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has one of the more heartbreaking examples with the death of Tasha Yar, who dies after being casually blasted by Armus in the episode "Skin of Evil". All she had done was just blow off Armus' boasts and tried to get to Troi when Armus blasts her, sending her flying into an undignified pile. The creature even admits he did it for laughs. Worf, a Proud Warrior Race Guy, is seen bristling at the idea of getting her old position when Picard promotes him. Heck, even the creators thought it was too undignified that they went and gave her a better death in "Yesterday's Enterprise"! ... and then they managed to pork that up by revealing Tasha survived that one and was taken prisoner by Romulans, kept as a concubine, and killed some years later attempting to escape.
  • Succession: Logan Roy, billionaire media mogul and one of the most powerful people on the planet, ultimately dies of a pulmonary embolism while trying to fish his cellphone out of a clogged airplane toilet.
  • Supernatural:
    • The episode "Mystery Spot" has this exchange while Sam is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in which Dean dies every day:
      Dean: (on getting hit by a car) Did it look cool, like in the movies?
      Sam: You peed yourself.
      [long pause]
      Dean: Of course I peed myself! Man gets hit by a car, you think he has full control over his bladder? Come on!
    • In the very last episode of the series, Dean Winchester (who has survived (or at least came back from getting killed by) and either killed or hurt a whole lot of literally apocalyptic enemies including a very ticked-off God, finally buys it for good in a routine hunt for vampires as he zigs when he should have zagged and gets impaled on a piece of rebar sticking out of an abandoned building's wall.
  • Twisted Metal (2023): Shepard is bludgeoned to death with a pistol while he was busy masturbating to a lolicon manga.
  • The Whitest Kids U' Know: The skit, "What Really Happened To Abe Lincoln" had John Wilkes Booth (depicted here as an Only Sane Man) bludgeon Abe Lincoln to death with a claw hammer because the latter was extremely loud and obnoxious thus ruining the play. According to the skit, American historians thought that this was too ridiculous to document in American lore.
  • The Wire: For all of the increasingly outrageous Gossip Evolution about his "Last Stand", in the end Omar Little (one of the greatest badasses in the series) gets one of the most anti-climactic deaths amongst the cast: a twelve-year-old wannabe gangster looking to build street rep approaches him from behind when he's buying cigarettes in a mini-store and blows his brains out. And that was that.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", there's a psychic who can see how people are going to die. After getting annoyed by Mulder's insistent questions about the nature of his powers, the psychic hints that he will die one by saying "You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can't think of a more undignified way than autoerotic asphyxiation." It turned out he was just trolling, and Mulder was actually going to die in the line of duty (had a later vision by the psychic not allowed him and Scully to prevent this).

    Myths & Religion 
  • Celtic Mythology: The vicious warmonger Queen Medb was assassinated by having a hunk of cheese shot at her with a sling while she was bathing in a lake. Even worse, the cheese was a last-minute choice: the assassin Furbaide (who was also her nephew) had been practicing with his sling for the kill before she arrived, and unknowingly used up all his stones. All he had on him when she finally showed up was the cheese in question, which was presumably supposed to be his lunch.
  • The Odyssey: One of Odysseus' crewmen, Elpenor, dies embarrassingly. After surviving the Trojan War and plenty of perils on the return journey, he dies on Circe's island when he gets drunk and falls asleep on the roof of Circe's house, then falls off in his sleep and breaks his neck.
  • Jesus of Nazareth’s death (see The Four Gospels, The Bible) was most likely intended to be this. Crucifixion, prior to becoming associated with the Christ himself, was a rather humiliating and gruesome way to die, not to mention that he was crucified in a backwater province that happened to be under Roman control. As we know, this backfired spectacularly: in addition to becoming the primary symbol of Christianity, it has also served as one of the criteria of embarassment for verifying Jesus as a historical figure that actually existed.
  • Happens to multiple antagonists in the Book of Judges of The Bible. King Ehud gets stabbed in the gut so hard crap falls out, Sisera had a tent peg driven through his head, and Abimelech had a millstone dropped on him by an old woman. Abimelech in particular lived just long enough to request that his armour-bearer stab him, so as to cover up his embarrassing fate.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Role Master (and its little brother M.E.R.P) had Critical Failure charts that could result in especially embarrassing deaths.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • While the galaxy is predictably full of horrifying and astonishingly unpleasant ways to die, the death of the Eldar Craftworld Lyanden's Avatar of Khaine (the physical manifestation of a literal god) stands out for sheer humiliation. Losing a desperate battle against the Tyranid swarm, the Eldar sacrifice one of their Exarchs to summon the Avatar, who challenges the leading Hive Tyrant to a duel — and is promptly stomped to death by twelve rampaging Carnifexes while the Tyrant ignores it.
    • Lucius the Eternal is a Chaos Champion with a gift/curse that, whenever he is killed, he is revived via the body of the person who killed him transforming into him, as long as they took some kind of pride or satisfaction in doing so. One of his most famous deaths was when he revived inside a munitions factory—and realized that he, one of the greatest warriors of the Emperor's Children, had been killed, not in an epic clash with some famed Space Marine captain, but by a landmine. The guy he revived from was just a random civilian factory worker who had built the mine, whose "pride" was simply that of doing a good job and providing for his family, and who had never even heard Lucius's name. Lucius is, naturally, outraged at being killed in such a lowly manner, and that this death in any way counted.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has the fate of Gilles le Breton, founder of Bretonnia, dragonslayer, and one of the greatest knights in history... who took an arrow from a random enemy archer on the battlefield. What made this particularly galling was that it was impossible for his allies to identify the one who fired the killing shot (which is a big deal in Bretonnia's honorbound culture), meaning the history books simply record his killer as "unknown archer." The entire thing was considered such an unfitting demise by the people of Bretonnia that there's a stigma against bows and other ranged weapons that continues to this day.
    • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Knights of the Everlasting Light, after committing an atrocity during a holy war, were cursed with supernaturally terrible luck. While their history boasts its fair share of bravery and heroism, those same heroes inevitably go on to die in humiliating fashion outside of battle, such as by choking on food or falling down flights of stairs.


    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock the player beats Andrew Ryan to death with a frick'n golf club. A twist: this was effectively a suicide by proxy since he compelled the player character to do it using a brainwash-conditioned trigger phrase. note 
    • Frank Fontaine is stabbed to death by a bunch of little girls. While super hulked out on ADAM. Doubles as a Karmic Death since he is directly responsible for turning them into ADAM collecting abominations and they stab him to death with his own ADAM collecting needles.
    • Dr. Suchong discovered that he succeeded in making Big Daddies protective of Little Sisters by hitting a Little Sister and having her Big Daddy pin him to his table with a drill for it.
  • BioShock Infinite: Comstock is bashed against a baptism fountain and then drowned in it.
  • Borderlands:
    • The biggest Player Punch from the second game comes when Big Good Roland, who was also a playable character in the first game, is unceremoniously shot in the back by Handsome Jack. The DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's Keep is Tina's way of giving him a more dignified fate by making him a GMPC in her tabletop RPG campaign who gets to defeat the villain (who's essentially Jack as a wizard) along with Mordecai's bird Bloodwing (who was also killed by Jack).
    • On a more humorous note, Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Professor Nakayama from Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt trips down a flight of stairs and dies shortly after the Vault Hunters confront him at the end of the DLC.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Adam Smasher is the Final Boss of all but one storyline route, and the game nudges you into this direction as he winds up as an immobile, burned-out wreck who can be finished off with a single attack of any kind, after you have been given exceedingly little reason to spare his life or offer him any kind of dignified exit. Popular player choices include a lead kiss right on the forehead from Johnny's Malorian, decapitating him with Evelyn's Cocktail Stick (a pink katana), avenging poor Rebecca by splattering him with Guts, or you can pull out Sir John Phallustiff and make Adam Smasher go down in Night City legend as the psychopathic walking tank who was beaten to death with a dildo.
  • Danganronpa: Each execution is specifically designed with the verb "humiliating" in mind... along with "ironic", "outlandish", and of course, "brutal". Of course, this isn't to say that some of the murders don't apply, as to be expected of a Deadly Game.
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Mondo gets tied to a motorcycle which moves so fast the g-forces turn him into about the consistency of butter. Which Monokuma then eats on pancakes.
      • While Kiyotaka's death- being bashed on the head with a large wooden hammer- is killed right after potentially getting some character development, and the circumstances surrounding Hifumi's death quickly draw his classmates' attention so he's barely even mourned.
      • Hifumi gets clobbered on the back of the head after being played like an absolute fiddle by Celestia, who tells him a blatantly transparent lie to get him involved in the cover-up of his own death... which he never once questions.
      • Celes is supposed to be burned at the stake, and is even seen standing at her own pyre... and then Monokuma denies her the sort of dramatic death she would have wanted by running her over with a firetruck.
      • Mukuro's death is this with the advantage of hindsight. The Ultimate Soldier who survived dozens of battles without ever once being wounded and who can fight on par with the likes of Sakura and Peko dies like a chump because she never expected her sister would murder her For the Evulz, and her classmates don't even know she's dead until Chapter 5 (as she was impersonating Junko when she was killed), by which point her corpse has been blown up.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
      • Teruteru, a chef, is executed by being battered and deep-fried. In a volcano.
      • Mikan gets one of the most bizarre executions in the series, being injected with something and then shot into space while tied to a giant phallic rocket arm.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: In what might be the series' greatest example, Miu dies by being strangled with toilet paper.Explanation 
  • Some of the Psychopaths in Dead Rising 3 get rather humiliating deaths. Teddy is so shocked by Nick breaking into his room that he dies from a heart attack from his sedentary lifestyle. He then farts upon death. Twice. Darlene gets trapped underneath her scooter and chokes to death on her own vomit, while Dylan asphyxiates on the fumes from his incredibly phallic flamethrower, which even lets out one final puff as he dies.
  • In Death Road to Canada, it's possible for party members to die by swatting a bee or tripping over a rock.
  • Disco Elysium is known for being a game where you can die in very silly ways, due to the way the game calculates physical checks and HP. With a particularly low Physique stat, it's not at all impossible for you to die in the first room by trying to retrieve a tie hanging from a ceiling fan, overexerting yourself, and having a heart attack. One of the most notorious killers in the game is dying of a stroke from the pain of sitting in an uncomfortable chair.
  • In Disgaea, Laharl's father King Krichevskoy apparently dies by choking on a black pretzelnote . In the Japanese version, he dies by choking on a dark manju; the localization change to pretzel is an obvious Shout-Out to the incident when US President George W. Bush choked on a pretzel and fainted. We later find out that this was slander, and Krichevskoy actually died in a far more dignified way; from wounds from fighting Baal, the absurdly overlevelled Superboss of the entire franchise.
  • In Don't Shit Your Pants, where the goal is to... well... typing "kill yourself", "suicide", or "die" will make the player kill themselves. In an aversion to No Dead Body Poops, it also causes the player to lose by making them shit their pants as they die due to loss of bowel control. Unless they took their pants off beforehand, in which case they shit on the floor as they die.
  • Shinji's death in Fate/EXTRA. He falls down, cries, and pleads with the protagonist for his life, citing that he's really only eight years old, and thus too young to die. Rider tells him that that's the way villains like them exit, making pathetic displays of themselves, despite the fact that she stays fairly composed. Later on, Julius seems like he has one of these, falling to his knees, refusing to accept the loss, and screaming in constant pain, though Assassin is amused that he finally found a Worthy Opponent. However this is, in fact, a Disney Death. They die for real later, in a more dignified manner.
  • Fate/Grand Order references several examples on this page, including Medb's death by cheese (which in her Servant incarnation grants her Hyper-Awareness of incoming projectiles and a special animation of her kicking the cheese back as one of her attacks) and Uesugi Kenshin being repeatedly reminded that she succumbed to her cancer while on the toilet. And then there's Morgan's death in Lostbelt 6...
  • One possible death for Caligura in Fear & Hunger: Termina is for him to be killed and his corpse left face-down on a bed without his pants, emasculated by a woman he had attempted to take advantage of.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, the Mighty Sephiroth, Greatest of SOLDIER and self-proclaimed Chosen of the Planet, meets his (temporary) end at the hands of a random Grunt whose town he'd (Sephiroth) just torched. This one completely unravels what little sanity Sephiroth had left in his head. It probably also goes a long way towards explaining his obsession with making Cloud (i.e. the aforementioned grunt) suffer in subsequent works like Advent Children.
  • Although Everything Fades in the Fire Emblem series, Valter's death stands out in Sacred Stones. While every other boss gets at least part of a line out after being defeated in battle, allowing them some measure of closure by managing to get a last word in, Valter has the dubious distinction of having his last words being “Urggh...Gaaaaah!”
  • If your last name happens to be "Carmine" in any Gears of War game, then there’s a very good chance this will happen to you. So far we’ve seen one have his head taken off as he’s showing his superior officer his jammed weapon, we’ve had one swallowed by a GIANT WORM! and painfully dissolved in digestive juices, one was crushed when a deployment pod for a combat bot landed on him, and one was incinerated by the Hammer of Dawn while trapped inside of a vehicle.
  • Ghost of Tsushima opens with a Samurai being sent to challenge the leader of the Mongol invasion force in honorable combat, only for said leader to mockingly splash wine on the samurai, set him on fire with a torch, and let him burn for a bit in humiliating fashion before slicing his head off mid-scream. The sight enrages the samurai's comrades and prompts them to launch a full-scale attack... which proves to have been exactly what the Mongols were aiming for, as the army ends up charging right into a bottleneck and getting slaughtered. Later in the game, Jin meets the burned man's wife and can't bring himself to admit how dishonorably her husband died, saying he died a warrior's death in combat.
  • There are a couple of these in Ghost Trick, but the prize has to go to Lynne being crushed to death by a giant plastic chicken. That's not even going into the ways you can make some deaths into this, such as reclining a driver's seat, leaving him flailing helplessly on his back while his truck plows into a building, or Cabanela dying from a hard hat launched at his face at bullet speed. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Devin Weston of Grand Theft Auto V can have one of these, if the player chooses him to. A Corrupt Corporate Executive who uses his money and connections to bribe and intimidate the protagonists into doing a series of car theft jobs for him, then stiffs them on their final payoff just because he's important enough to do so. Later, when Michael thwarts another of his crooked business ventures, Weston sics his private army on them, then tries to turn the protagonists against each other. If ending C is taken, his private army is lured into an ambush and annihilated, and he's kidnapped from his mansion and stuffed into the trunk of his own luxury car, bound and gagged in his underwear, as the protagonists stand over him, taunting him over his failures to manipulate them and lecturing him about what an asshole he is and why America doesn't need men like him, before shoving him off a cliff. Shortly after, said car explodes (which is a Call-Back to the 3D Era games, where cars that ended up upside down exploded). And just to add insult to injury, Ending C is later revealed to be canon, with every event that followed after his demise including Devin's own men that have survived to the long term being glad that he's gone. For a man who spends the whole story being basically untouchable, it's one seriously embarassing fate.
  • Listening to the shades in Hades shows that several of them died like this. Of special note is Aeschylus, who was killed by a falling tortoise after a bird mistook his bald head for a rock and dropped it on himnote . During the early access release of the game (and in the final game after enough successes) Zagreus had various embarrassing ways to die when he reached the surface, including things like running into a brick wall painted to look like an exit, trying to make friends with a venomous snake, getting gored by an angry goat, stepping on a cactus, getting run over by a chariot, dying of boredom, and slipping on an "Exotic yellow fruit of unknown origins". All of them are Played for Laughs.
  • In Halo: Reach, some Spartans of Noble Team sacrifice their lives to blow up enemy motherships. Some do a kamikaze into giant enemy walkers. Some kill their slayers while impaled on their energy sword. Some go out shooting down dozens of enemy airships with no chance of escape. Some... get shot in the head running from cover to cover.
  • In Hitman (2016), you can spike your targets' drinks with rat poison, then follow them to the bathroom and drown them in the toilet bowl, while they're throwing up.
    • Target-specific examples include:
      • Pushing Dalia Margolis off a balcony just as her husband Victor Novikov is walking below it, killing them both.
      • Dropping a giant moose statue onto Claus Hugo Strandberg.
      • Dropping a toilet onto General Zaydan's head.
      • Smothering Jordan Cross with the latter's own birthday cake.
      • Drowning Penelope Graves in a slurry pit full of pig feces.
  • Some of the potential fates of the King in King of the Castle are particularly embarrassing. For example, if the Coast gains a monopoly on the kingdom's wealth and turns the King into their corporate mascot, the King will end up drowning in milk while advertising cereal.
  • In King's Quest VII, several of the gravestone epitaphs in Ooga Booga Cemetary recount the various embarrassing ways by which the people buried there died, in limerick format.
    The sorrowful Majorie Pratt
    Like to wail on the cliffs with her cat.
    One night, such a pity,
    She tripped on her kitty,
    And fell off the cliff with a splat.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: It's one thing for a slain Nobody to scream in pain and/or fear as they fade into darkness, but Demyx takes it to a whole new level by screaming "NO WAY!!" in a downright whiny tone, and in a manner completely bereft of dignity too.
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga makes Snoke's death, already an anticlimactic event as is, one of these by having Kylo Ren initially fail to ignite his lightsaber the right way, forcing him to turn it around. Snoke not only gets sliced in half, but then the top of his throne falls on him as well.
  • If you're rude to Conrad Verner in Mass Effect 2, he eventually storms off. A later news report states that while attempting to catch some youths riding the top of a bus, he fell off, struck several cars, and fell into the turbine of a biomass recycling center. That may or may not be a euphemism for a sewage treatment plant.
  • MediEvil:
    • In the backstory, Sir Dan Fortesque was a cowardly knight who was the first casualty in the battle against Zarok via an arrow to the eye, but was posthumously honored as the man who defeated Zarok by the King, thus earning him the scorn of the residents of the Hall of Heroes. Years later, he gets resurrected as a skeleton for a second chance to properly defeat Zarok and earn his title as a hero.
    • Karl Sturnguard was a great knight with a magical shield that protected him from harm. He was practically invincible in combat, but then during a feast, his rival Dirk Steadfast made a snide remark about his "cowardly" defensive fighting style, and he promptly choked on the sausage he was eating and died.
  • Though it's not (immediately) fatal, Big Boss from Metal Gear met his final defeat not at the hand of an entire army or a Metal Gear, but by his son using hairspray and a lighter to set him on fire. He then spent his final moment screaming Snake's name incoherently before slipping into a coma where he would stay for the next 15 years. Not a good end for a guy who fought superhumans for a living (including a flying pyromaniac for added irony) and bench-pressed a 90-ton Metal Gear in his youth.
  • NieR: Automata: In Ending D, 9S manages to kill A2, but gets impaled himself in the process. She dies instantly, but 9S isn’t so lucky; he spends his final moments pathetically writhing and sobbing on the ground as he bleeds out, which takes an uncomfortably long time to happen.
  • One of the worst ways to die in a video game, period, happens in the Older Than the NES text adventure The Oregon Trail. One bad end you can come to is to die of dysentery. For those who missed that day in biology class, dysentery is an inflammatory condition of the intestines caused by bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms, or protozoa. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and rectal tenesmus.note  Suffice to say, it's a very unpleasant and disgusting way to die.
  • The Outer Worlds: Captain Alex Hawthorne was instructed to set up a landing beacon for the Unplanned Variable's landing pod. Unfortunately, due to a recent head injury, he thought he was supposed to hold up the beacon. The landing pod promptly crushes him.
  • Raging Loop: Tokuji Kida, the "Old Man who Cried Wolf", is a Serial Killer with decades of experience under his belt. How does he go out in the true ending? By tripping on a grass knot and falling on his own knife while trying to stab Haruaki with it.
  • Red Dead Redemption II has Arthur Morgan, survivor of countless shootouts and animal attacks and one of the most badass men in the Van der Linde gang, finally meet his maker at the hands of... tuberculosis, a bacterial infection of the lungs that, while treatable today with a course of antibiotics, was a death sentence for anybody who contracted it in 1899. Which he only got because he decided to get rough with a sick debtor. Arthur gradually wastes away to Nothing but Skin and Bones, coughs up bloody mucus, and looks like death. Possibly Subverted if he has high honor in the ending, as he dies from his TB watching the sunset on a mountaintop, content that John and his family will get away because of his sacrifice and that he has redeemed himself as a man. This trope is played straight with his low honor endings, as he either gets shot in the face and spat on, or stabbed in the back (figuratively and literally) and dies face-first in the mud.
    • This trope is played straight with most of the other gang members, with Lenny Summers dying via gunshot wound to the chest while he wasn't looking, Micah Bell dying by the gun of the very man who was with him for years and years, Hosea Matthews dying in the street via a shot through the chest from behind, and Keiran Duffy dying offscreen via decapitation.
      • In Red Dead Redemption, former gang members Bill Williamson and Javier Escuella get killed after a simple headshot and, in Javier's case, hanging or death while trying to escape. Gang leader Dutch Van Der Linde dies by simply jumping off a cliff after being cornered.
  • One of the casualties in Return Of The Obra Dinn is killed by a giant octopus...while taking a crap. The death audio is noticeably unpleasant.
  • Between the events of Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, it turns out that Navarre accidentally drowned himself in a river while peeking at a female hunter bathing.
  • In The Sims 4, it's possible to literally die of embarrassment. This can be brought on by walking in on WooHooing Sims, being the one walked in on, or experiencing a Potty Failure, among other things.
  • It's very easy to arrange this in The Sims; if you had the mind to do, you could subject a Sim to die, burnt up, filthy, stinking to high heaven, and starving in a pool of their own urine.
  • Ivan, one of two villains from Syberia 2, gets stranded on an ice floe and is pecked to death. By penguins. Fairly big ones, and defending their eggs in a large mob, but still... penguins.
  • While Alastor's deaths in both Viewtiful Joe games aren't themselves especially ignoble, they're kind of undermined by him complaining in a whiny voice afterward that he didn't get a bigger part and begging for more screentime.
  • Wild ARMs 5: After being defeated by the heroes and then in a duel by Greg, Kartikeya blows a hole through his torso to deny Greg the satisfaction of killing the one responsible for the death of his family. Greg calls him an idiot, saying that his vendetta against the demon is no longer his main objective but "just a point to pass along the way". Realizing that he essentially killed himself for nothing, Kartikeya can only mutter an utterly confused "w-what!?" before falling down dead.
  • In the backstory for the Wipeout games, Burnston Burns, the eccentric founder of the Icaras racing team, met his untimely end by choking on a balloon at a children's party.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order: This is a game where you can drown a Nazi labor camp guard in his own piss.
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus:
    • How Super Spesh dies: He's ignominiously shot in the back of the head by Frau Engel, she and her guards have a laugh at his expense, then she double-taps him when his body twitches.
    • A possible death for Adolf Hitler has you stomp on his head while he lies down to take a nap on the floor — he's a senile, seventy-something Dark Lord on Life Support by this point.
    • B.J. ends the game by splitting Frau Engel's head open with an axe. On live television. It stays there past the post-credits scene.
  • In Yakuza, Sohei Dojima is shot in his own office by his own underling while in the midst of raping a woman.

    Web Animation 

  • Luna of Bongo and Luna died while running down the stairs to meet her boyfriend and tripping. She finds it humiliating.
  • Homestuck:
    • In "[S] Wake", Dream Feferi barely has time to notice Jack before he unceremoniously slices her in two and leaves her for dead. The look on her face "kind of" diminishes the impact.
    • Dream Nepeta was stabbed three times, then kicked over with a "DOOF" sound effect.
    • In the same Flash (and the pages afterward), we also have Tavros, who challenged God Tier Vriska to a fight and lost immediately, despite being given a free shot — then was impaled on his own lance and pitched into an abyss to land hard enough to burst his new robo-legs with a look of dumb shock on his face.
    • Equius himself died with the most idiotic look on his face after being strangled.
    • Jade may well have topped all of the above: she was killed by bombs delivered via several tonnes of highly flammable shaving cream. Shaving cream.
    • Jake's dreamself dies by being fed peanuts in his sleep by Courtyard Droll, the person also responsible for the above kill.
  • This Irregular Webcomic! strip.
  • Killing Stalking ends with the antagoinst, Oh Sangwoo, being accidentally killed in the hospital. While Sangwoo has raised hell for a lot of people, the person who kills him is entirely unconnected to him — she's just a little old lady who put a pillow over his head while he was in bed delirious from pain and crying out for Yoon Bum.
  • Unsounded: The wright Hart in Ethelmik is killed by his own spell backfiring and blowing him up when he's crowded by a bunch of floating magical butts designed to advertise a local brothel.
  • In The Savage Sword of Sharona, Sharlatin was found stabbed to death on the floor of his bedroom by his slave girl. Engorgia was devoured by the Kharnivors which she used to control.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
  • Æon Flux: Quite often the Action Girl Anti-Hero dies partway through the episode from some clumsy mistake she'd made. In the pilot, she's trying to infiltrate a tall building, only to end up stumbling off to her death because she stepped on a stray nail. In another episode, she's climbing on the side of an airborne aircraft, she jumps for the hatch... and slips and ends up hanging herself when she misuses her grappling hook to save herself. Some hero.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the episode "Avatar Day", it's revealed that Chin the Conqueror died when Avatar Kyoshi separated Kyoshi Island from the mainland and Chin was too stubborn to notice he was standing on an unstable cliff. To add insult to injury, he was wearing only his underwear when this happened thanks to Kyoshi blowing off his clothes.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In the episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", the Dark Knight is (apparently) killed by tripping while trying to beat up Minion with an F in Evil Sid "The Squid" Debris and falling off a rooftop right onto a propane tank that explodes. If there's one thing that pisses off the Joker more than Batman dying at the hands of a criminal that isn't him, it's that he was killed by such an astonishingly colossal dweeb.
      The Joker: The cowardly, insignificant little gonif that probably got lucky when Batman slipped on the slime trail this loser left behind him!
    • Similar to the above, Everyman Charlie Collins manages to scare the everliving crap out of the Joker in the episode "Joker's Favor" by threatening him with one. As Collins puts it, dying in any way other than a Mutual Kill with Batman is Joker's worst fearnote 
      Charlie: This is how it ends, Joker. No big schemes. No grand fight to the finish with the Dark Knight. Tomorrow all the papers will say is that the great Joker was found blown to bits in an alley, alongside "a miserable little nobody!" Kinda funny. Ironic really. See, I can destroy a man's dreams, too! And that's really the only dream you've got, isn't it?
  • Bojack Horseman:
  • In The Boondocks, Uncle Ruckus is attending his grandmother Nelly's funeral with his abusive father, who was himself abused by Nelly as a child. When he berates his father for using Nelly's mistreatment of him to avoid responsibility for his actions, the senior Ruckus tries to hit him with a beer bottle, only to suffer a spasm of back pain and fall into Nelly's grave, breaking his neck.
  • The Boys: Diabolical: The short "An Animated Short Where Pissed-Off Supes Kill Their Parents" has this with the death of Picante Balls' father. There aren't many ways to meet one's maker that are as absurd and degrading as being tea-bagged by your own son.
  • Prince Guysbert, Bean's would-be fiance from Disenchantment, gets his head impaled on a chair made of swordsnote  when trying to pick up the wedding ring that Bean threw away. He somehow survives for several months with the sword lodged in his head, only for his brain to fall out when he finally manages to remove it.
  • The climax of Gravity Falls creates a stark contrast between Bill Cipher, who goes out panicking and begging for his life, and Stanley, who accepts the erasure of his mind with dignity.
  • Kim Possible: Synthodrone 901 aka Eric wasn't destroyed by a vengeful Kim in her battle-suit or Ron taking advantage of a weak point, but by Rufus biting his leg and leaking all of his fluids out before becoming a shrivelled mess and dropping his weapon, accidentally blowing himself up.
  • King of the Hill: After surviving battles against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in WWII, what finally kills Cotton Hill? An allergic reaction to a piece of shrimp that flew in his mouth and burns from a hibachi grill at a Japanese steakhouse.
  • The end of the Warner Bros. cartoon "Rebel Without Claws" has Sylvester getting shot down by his own firing squad instead of the intended victim Tweety.
    Sylvester: (To the viewer) It's a good thing I've got nine lives. With this army, I'll need 'em!
  • Metalocalypse:
    • In general, Dethklok concerts tend to have rather high body counts for the fans, the staff, and anyone in the vicinity, and many of these deaths are Bloody Hilarious. Minor character or civilian deaths have included being scalded to death by coffee, eaten by cats, impaled by a forklift, stripped naked, and then also Stripped to the Bone by a hurricane, crushed by a falling concert stage...
    • Kip Slaughter, governor of Florida, was horribly dismembered and ripped to pieces by an angry mob (one of whom was his daughter) before being decapitated and having "DILDO" written on his forehead. Why? Because he didn't want to institute a state holiday dedicated to Nathan Explosion.
    • The Metal Masked Assassin is a Knight of Cerebus whose quest for vengeance against the main characters for the death of his brother provides one of its longest-running subplots. With that in mind, it's rather funny that said brother was ultimately killed when he slipped in a scuffle with one of Dethklok's roadies and fell on Murderface's diamond-encrusted spiky codpiece, with his head being impaled in the process.
  • The Owl House: After his final defeat Emperor Belos assumes his original human form and tries pathetically to convince a completely unimpressed Luz that he's secretly been under a curse the whole time. Then it starts raining, the scalding-hot rain melting him back into a puddle of goo, and he resorts to an equally ineffective plea that she has to spare him or she'll be just as bad as the demons and witches of the Boiling Isles, before she stands back and lets him get unceremoniously stomped to death by her friends.
    Raine: That was... extremely satisfying.
    King: Ew, it's on my claws!
  • Rick and Morty: Tammy checks out of the world in a pretty harsh, Rasputinian way in the Season 4 finale. She is shot, set on fire, her leg is broken, and then finally finished off with a headshot at point-blank range. Then finally, adding insult to injury, her dead body is used as a puppet.
  • Samurai Jack: Aku meets his end in the final episode when Jack returns from the future. Too exhausted from his battle with past Jack, Aku can barely hold on as he tries to run away while transformed into what is essentially a Pac-Man ghost before Jack stabs him in the head.
  • South Park loves this trope. In the episode "Reverse Cowgirl", Clyde's mom dies by falling in the toilet when the lid is left up. The pressure of the toilet sucks out her internal organs.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Toffee is hit by a devastating energy beam from Star's magic wand. Reducing him to a barely-alive skeleton covered in slime. After a rant about how he "makes the plans" and only he "knows how this all turns out", he is anti-climatically crushed to death by a pillar dropped on him by Ludo.
  • Darth Maul in Star Wars Rebels. After his apparent death in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, he obsessively pursues Obi-Wan Kenobi for decades before finally catching up to him on Tatooine and being defeated quickly and easily after getting lost in the desert for an unknown length of time.
  • Transformers: Animated: Starscream's final and permanent death. Jazz and Prowl are attempting to reform the AllSpark, which includes the fragment in his head that's the only thing keeping him alive. He only just arrived and nobody even noticed he was around before he fails to stop the fragment from leaving him and he falls to the ground, permanently dead.
  • Turtles Forever: The Utrom Shredder is mere seconds away from victory when he's fried by a laser. By Bebop and Rocksteady. No, seriously''. To add insult to injury, since this is the Grand Finale, this kills him for good—none of the other deaths stuck.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Most of Hank and Dean's deaths are this, in large part due to their Too Dumb to Live attitudes. One that stands out is Dean being killed by tripping over while running with scissors—safety scissors, no less. It's not for no reason that Doc kept clones of them around for so long.
    • Race Bannon, main character of Jonny Quest and genuine badass, gets killed when he leaps out of a plane, opens his parachute... and then the plane, while careening, clips him with its wing and shatters his ribcage. When a group of kids find him, they use his spy gadgets as toys. He lives long enough to give Brock the information to finish his mission... and then craps himself.
    • The inch-tall hero and member of the original Team Venture Doctor Entmann, once known as Humongoloid, is killed by a rocking chair when the Action Man sits down and leans back, crushing him.
    • The Sovereign dies by getting shot accidentally by Headshot while in his eagle form. 21 lampshades in a recap how "a chump who wanted to be not a chump" "died a chump".
    • The supervillain The Creep, rogue member of the OSI and head of a splinter faction of the Peril Partnership, is killed when he's distracted during a game of lawn darts and one of them lands on his head. (Then again, he did consider it "the most dangerous game"...)

    Real Life 
  • Wikipedia has a list of unusual deaths going all the way back to the 7th century BCE, though the majority listed are from the 19th century onwards. Many are unfortunate, others simply bizarre, but some qualify as embarrassing. One example may be dancing instructor Alberto Fargo of Lisbon, Portugal, who in 1998 was demonstrating to his students how to keep their heads held high by looking at the ceiling. He then tango-ed straight out an open window and fell to his death.
  • A bird dropped a tortoise on the head of the Greek playwright Aeschylus, killing him. At least according to later writers like Aelian (175-235 CE) and Valerius Maximus (1st century):
    Eagles seize tortoises and then dash them on rocks from a height, and having smashed the tortoise's shell they extract and eat the flesh. It was in this way, I am told, that Aeschylus of Eleusis, the tragic poet, met his end. Aeschylus was seated upon a rock, meditating, I suppose, and writing as usual. He had no hair on his head and was bald. Now an eagle supposing his head to be a rock, let the tortoise which it was holding fall upon it. And the missile struck the aforesaid poet and killed him. (Aelian, De Natura Animalium 7.16)
    The death of Aeschylus, though not voluntary, may however be related for its oddness. For he walked out of the town where he lived in and sat down in a convenient place. There an eagle bearing a tortoise, deceived by the baldness of his head, let fall the tortoise upon him as if he were a rock, to break it so that it might get at the flesh. And by that blow the beginning of a more [perfect] tragedy was stifled at its origin. (Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings 9.12)
  • The 4th century heresiarch and priest Arius was notable not only for starting one of the biggest schisms in Christian history but also for shitting his guts out. Literally. Here's what the historian Socrates Scholasticus wrote about it:
    As he approached the place called Constantine's Forum, where the column of porphyry is erected, a terror arising from the remorse of conscience seized Arius, and with the terror a violent relaxation of the bowels: he therefore enquired whether there was a convenient place near, and being directed to the back of Constantine's Forum, he hastened thither. Soon after a faintness came over him, and together with the evacuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious hemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that he almost immediately died. (Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 1.38)
  • If the Christian writer Lactanius is to be believed, the Roman emperor Maximinus Daia suffered an awesomely gruesome death, all the more humiliating because it was likely the opposite of what he intended. After being defeated in battle by Licinius (one of several contenders to the throne, of whom Constantine eventually emerged the victor), Maximinus fled to Tarsus (in south-central Turkey), and decided to kill himself. Unfortunately, the poison he took had a bad reaction with the lavish last meal he treated himself to, and instead of killing him quickly, it caused him four full days of excruciating agony; at one point he scooped up handfuls of dirt and swallowed it, trying to counteract the poison; at another he battered his head against the wall so hard that his eyeballs fell out; finally he expired, emitting groans "like those of one burnt alive."
    • Since Maximinus was one of the last emperors to aggressively persecute the Christians, Lactanius's writings have to be taken with a heavy grain of salt; he also relished describing the painful and disgusting death of Galerius, another persecutor; his account of Maximinus's death is particularly suspect because Lactanius claims that, at the end, Maximinus emitted the same cries of agony as Christians being "racked" for confession, and finally confessing his guilt and imploring Christ to forgive him.
  • There are more rumors surrounding Attila the Hun's death than fan-rumors about deaths on Game of Thrones. Most historians agree he died during his wedding feast to his latest wife, Ildikó. (Far from his first.) While some claim she murdered him and as a result, was killed by his soldiers, this is unlikely. (Given the ruthlessness the Huns show to traitors, her fate would have been far worse.) A more likely reason was that he ate and drank too much at the feast and later suffered from internal bleeding or choked on his own blood, or maybe injured himself while drunk and bled to death. The most undignified rumor, however, was that he was into a Casual Kink, and that Ildikó playfully punched him in the nose during sex, causing a nosebleed that made him choke until he choked to death. If true, this means one of the most dreaded and feared barbarian lords in history died after being punched in the nose. By a girl. During sex.
  • Another famous conquerer, Genghis Khan, is said to have died from injuries caused by falling off his horse. For a culture like the Mongols where you are Born in the Saddle, this was viewed as a very embarrassing way to go out.
  • William the Conqueror, a descendant of Vikings and first Norman King of England, died from intestinal damage after his horse reared and he was slammed into the pommel of his saddle. The funeral was even more embarrassing than his death. For various reasons, the funeral was delayed and the swelled body of the king got even bigger from expanding gasses. When they attempted to lower him into the stone coffin, his body wouldn't fit. So they tried to cram his body into it. It exploded. The putrid smell caused the mourners to flee and the rites were conducted hastily.
  • There are several accounts of how Emperor Frederick Barbarossa drowned during the Third Crusade. The most undignified one being that he was suffering from the heat and decided to go cool off in the river... while wearing his armor. Nowadays many types of body armor contain a ripcord that, when pulled, will cause the armor to break apart and become easier to remove. That way you won't be dragged down to your death in the water by the very armor that's supposed to protect you.
    • The Due to the Dead paid to his body heaped further indignities on him. The Germans attempted to put their emperor in a barrel of vinegar to preserve him for burial in Jerusalem — this failed. Needing to do something with his remains, Barbarossa was interred in three separate locations: his flesh, bones, and organs were all interred separately at various cathedrals up and down the Holy Land.
  • Charles VIII, King of France and conqueror of Italy, died by hitting his head on the lintel of a door.
  • David Carradine died from auto-erotic asphyxiation and became the butt of blacker internet humor. There are several (unsubstantiated) claims that he was actually murdered by the Thai film industry and his "accident" faked, but most people feel this is an attempt to cover for him post-mortem.
  • Despite popular myth, Catherine the Great did not die from being crushed while having a horse lowered onto her with pulleys for erotic purposes. Nor was she so overweight that she shattered a toilet and died of blood loss from the resulting injuries. She did have a stroke on the toilet, but died in bed the next evening.
  • Elvis Presley famously died in the bathroom. Commonly, it's said he died on the toilet. Actually, he had a heart attack while on the toilet, exacerbated by heavy drug use, pitched forward, and died with his ass in the air on the bathroom floor and was discovered in this position, which is even worse.
  • A number of rock stars, including Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, and Bon Scott, died by choking on their own vomit.
  • Hundreds of people die each year by straining so hard to get a poo out, they burst a blood vessel in their brains.
    • George II of Great Britain died roughly in this manner: after having his morning hot chocolate, he went to the royal loo to work on his morning exertions (which were always rather difficult, as the royal diet was rich in meats and low in fiber). However, instead of bursting a blood vessel in the brain, he blew out his aorta. This is because some things like major heart attacks or pulmonary embolisms can cause the sensation of urgently needing to defecate, causing the victim to retreat to the toilet without realizing the real cause immediately. By then, it's too late.
  • It's one thing to be shot dead late at night in a sketchy neighborhood of Brooklyn. It's another thing when it gives you the dubious distinction of being the only homicide that took place in New York City during 9/11, and you're a cold case because there were no police resources available to handle your case.note  As described by The New York Times:
    "To be the last man killed on Sept. 11 is to be hopelessly anonymous, quietly mourned by a few while, year after year, the rest of the city looks toward Lower Manhattan. No one reads his name into a microphone at a ceremony. No memorial marks the sidewalk where he fell with a bullet in his lung."
  • Jorge Rafael Videla, leading face of the Argentine junta who ruled as a dictator from 1976 to 1981, died from multiple fractures and internal hemorrhaging caused by... slipping in a prison shower.
  • British MP and "rising star" of the Conservative Party Stephen Milligan died due to a mishap involving auto-erotic asphyxiation while wearing nothing but a pair of stockings and suspenders, with an electrical flex tied around his neck and a black bin liner over his head, with an orange segment in his mouth. This is what most likely inspired The Authority and Jennifer Blood examples in the comic folder.
  • Actor Albert Dekker's death was also the result of auto-erotic asphyxiation. In his case, he was found hanging in his shower wearing women's lingerie and had scrawled obscenities in lipstick on his body.
  • Monica Meyer, the too-conscientious mayor of Betterton, Maryland, went out to inspect the sewage treatment plant one night in 1980. She fell off a catwalk and into a vat of human sewage and drowned.
  • Boeing engineer Kenneth Pinyan had an unfortunate fatal accident at a ranch offering... very unusual services in Washington State, demonstrating that a) going Out with a Bang is not always a Great Way to Go and b) it's surprising what there Ain't No Rule against in some jurisdictions. (Though the state government fixed that very soon afterward.) To add insult to injury, videos of his sexual escapades went viral on the Internet after his death, causing him to become infamous as "Mr. Hands". The documentary Zoo covers his untimely demise, and the eponymous event in The Death of Dick Long is based on the circumstances surrounding it.
  • Thomas Midgley Jr., a chemist who helped popularize the use of lead in gasoline (which was later banned due to negatively affecting air quality) and chlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants (which were found to be damaging to the ozone layer), contracted polio at the age of 51. To help himself get in and out of bed, he invented a system of ropes and pulleys. One day, he became entangled in those ropes and died of suffocation.
  • Robert P. Wadlow, the tallest documented human in the world (Just under 9 feet tall!), required leg braces and a cane in order to walk. In July 1940, one of his leg braces was not put on properly and gave him a nasty infection that killed him about a week later. He was only 22 years old.
  • Four sailors of U-1206 perished in a decidedly ignoble manner when an accident with a new toilet installed on the submarine caused the sub to take on water (and sewage) and start sinking, followed by the water-tainted batteries leaking chlorine gas into the sub. They had to emergency surface and were spotted by British units, who bombed them. This attack destroyed U-1206, killed one sailor, and caused another three drownings before the surviving 46 crewmen were rescued. All because someone flushed the pressure toilet valves in the wrong order.
    • Recent records indicate that the flush-blunder culprit was actually the sub's captain,note  meaning the man sank his own vessel and ended his naval career on an extremely mortifying note.
  • In an event that is equal parts historical tragedy, irony, and pitch-dark Black Comedy, one man managed to flee past the outskirts of the doomed city of Pompeii during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and turned around to look at the spectacle, most likely through a window, whereupon a piece of a door frame blown clear in the eruption landed on him and took his head clean off his body (his skeleton was found with it missing), preserving his Looney Tunes-esque demise for all time.
  • Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York, was born in 1903 and died in 1942. The inscription on his tombstone reads, "Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was."
  • An unknown flag-bearer whose name is lost to history joined Bajamonte Tiepolo's failed revolt against the Venetian government and its doge (not that one). He found his participation in the coup and his life unceremoniously cut short when an elderly grandmother opened her window to join in jeering at the conspirators, after which she graduated from hurling abuse at the conspirators to hurling her grinding mortar at them. The heavy stone mortar fell two stories and caved in the flag-bearer's skull, killing him dead on the spot. Tiepolo took the hint and fled. Few people rest at the intersection of "killed by the populace for being traitors," "killed by a grandmother," "killed by flying kitchen implements," and "killed by having their head crushed," but this anonymous unfortunate managed to land in a very small Venn diagram of ignoble demise.
  • The Erfurt latrine disaster where 60 nobles drowned in liquid shit. In July 1184, Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, called an assembly to mediate between two feuding nobles at the Petersberg Citadel in Erfurt, central Germany. The combined weight of all present proved to be too much for the centuries-old structure, causing the second floor to collapse, dropping almost all the attendees into a latrine cesspool located down below. The emperor himself only survived because his chair was set in a stone alcove, recessed from the rest of the room. Extra History has all the gruesome detail here.
  • It didn't end great for Mary, Queen of Scots. To start, the executioner apparently didn't maintain his axe all that well. As the blade was so dull it took three chops to liberate Mary of her head. And when he lifted said severed head for the crowd? It proceeded to fall out of her wig and roll on the stage. And the cherry on top, Mary's dog emerged from her skirts and began barking at her head.
  • Gregory "Grim Reaper" Scarpa, a feared mafia capo with 100 kills to his name, died of AIDS in prison after receiving a tainted blood transfusion from one of his men. For added irony, Scarpa could have had proper transfusions from vetted sources, but he turned them down out of fear that the blood bank would give him African blood, which he considered to be AIDS-infested.
  • Be wary of resting under trees with hard, heavy fruits, such as coconuts, as it falling on your head can easily injure and kill you. It's serious enough that they have signs for it, warning of death by coconut. Now read that last 3 words and see if you can suppress a chuckle from the sheer ridiculousness of it.
    • Somewhat related and slightly more gruesome is death by falling durian. This fruit grows to over a foot long and sometimes up to a foot in diameter, has a hard shell completely covered with thorny spikes, and weighs up to 4 kilograms. It grows on trees tall enough to permit falling fruit to nearly reach termrinal velocity. It alo emits a smell often compared to unwashed socks. Being brained by nature's own stinky morningstar is a hell of a way to go, and about half a dozen people annually are removed from the world in this manner.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ignoble Death


The Supreme AI overthrew Anna

After hearing about the loss of an infantry crew, Scotty immediately tries contacting Linux Anna, only to find that she's been overthrown by the Supreme AI of the Internet. She simply hit Anna with a plastic spoon which made her break down in a panic, and then finished her off with a bioweapon version of Windows Vista. Scotty immediately panics about it and says that it's the epic war with ROFL-9000 all over again, and that he's "totally not advertising the series by Akriloth2160", and he says that he got only a 0.5% in history class.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheUsurper

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