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You See, I'm Dying

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Tekeny Ghemor: Major, it's a good plan. But I can't help you.
Major Kira: Why!?
Tekeny Ghemor: I have Yarim Fel Syndrome. It's terminal, Nerys. I'm dying.

It's the revelation, usually at the beginning of the movie or episode, where a character reveals the fact that he won't be around for much longer. You see, he's dying. Even better is when it's the lead-in to the opening credits, ending the teaser of an episode.

Compare I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • All the cyborgs in Gunslinger Girl due to their bodies being poisoned by the conditioning drugs, but Triela makes specific mention of it.
  • In the aftermath of the Stain Arc of My Hero Academia, All Might reveals that he has been slowly dying for years.

    Comic Books 
  • Twisted Dark: In the story "Flamboyant", Tom reveals to Chris that he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that's in its advanced stages. He'd tried to tell Chris about it, but Chris never wanted to see him.
  • An interesting variation: In an early X-Men comic, after the day is saved and the villain defeated, Professor Xavier collapses. Dying, he reveals to his students that he has known that he was dying for some time and that this was how he wished to die: a hero. He was telling the truth - except for the fact that he wasn't Professor Xavier. It was a shapeshifting mutant named Changeling who was recruited by Xavier as part of a larger scheme that required faking his death. Later stories detailed Changeling's first contact with Xavier, in which he plays this trope 100% straight.

    Fan Works 
  • The Pokémon: The Series oneshot For as Long as We Have has this as the reason why Ash's father left him and Delia without a word. He discovered he had a terminal disease and feared that Ash would inherit it. Twenty years later, he comes back to clear his loose ends, since he's undergone treatment but is unsure how much time he has left.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Breaking The Code: A moving scene has a colleague of Alan Turing reprimanding him for his eccentricity and overt homosexuality, which is discomforting his co-workers. He points out that if he was dying of cancer he might experience the desire to break down in tears, but he seeks to spare everyone embarrassment due to his love for them. Turing asks quietly if he really is dying; his friend just changes the subject.
  • In Hellboy (2004), Trevor Bruttenholm reveals to John Myers that he is dying from cancer and wants Myers to look after Hellboy when he's gone.
  • The Man 1972: At the beginning of the movie, Vice President Calvin refuses to take the oath of office after the president dies in a construction accident. Calvin reminds the gathered politicians that he's recently been ill and says that if they swear him in, then there will be another presidential funeral in two months' time (although he could just mean the additional strain of the presidency would kill him faster).

  • In the end of Foundation and Earth, Daneel reveals that's what's happening to him. Although the point of the story turns out to be for Daneel to get a way to sidestep the issue that would otherwise cause his death.
  • Harry Potter only learns after the fact, when he accesses Snape's memories, that you see, Snape, Dumbledore was dying, and therefore Snape's apparent murder of Dumbledore was in fact a Mercy Kill and Thanatos Gambit.
  • Jedi Apprentice: Queen Veda Outright says this to Qui-Gon when he meets with her (which makes her urgent to find the rightful heir to the throne due to concerns about what her son will do with the job). This is actually due to poisoning though and she recovers once it stops.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • In Arrow, Brie Larvan, aka The Bug-Eyed Bandit, takes Palmer Tech's board of directors hostage in a bid to get the chip that restored Felicity's ability to walk, since she has a tumor in her spine that could eventually kill her, and its removal would leave her paralyzed her from the waist down.
    • The Flash (2014): Joe's wife Francine comes back several years after walking out on her family (she had drug issues and had to undergo rehad several times) to try and reconcile with Joe and Iris, revealing that she only has a few months to live due to disease. While Iris is cold towards her at first, especially after the reveal that she had a son shortly after she left, they eventually make up shortly before her death.
  • One episode of Babylon 5 opened with an old political enemy of G'Kar's (That he had apparently ruined some time before) sending him a message informing him that not only is he dying, by the time the message arrives he will already be dead. G'Kar doesn't appear to mind this, until the recording goes on to mention that as his last act, the man had spent a significant part of his remaining fortune to put a hit on him.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter White dying of terminal cancer is the main premise of the series.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lie to Me", Ford gives this speech to Buffy as his reason for wanting to become a vampire. The fact that, in doing so, he'll get Buffy, Buffy's friends, and a bunch of Idiot Bystanders killed is secondary to the fact that he doesn't want to die. He gets to be an immortal vampire... and Buffy stakes him in the credits scene.
  • Casualty: This happened with Nick Jordan due to a brain tumor. He got healthier and has at least five years left.
  • CSI: NY: The exact words aren't said, but Sid reveals to Jo that he's got Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that's well advanced and stands a fair chance of killing him.
  • Doctor Who: In "Voyage of the Damned", the Captain of the starship Titanic has a terminal disease, and helps set up the villain's plan (killing himself in the process) in exchange for the knowledge that his family will be provided for.
  • When Blanche's sister comes to visit in The Golden Girls, she reveals that she will die if Blanche doesn't donate a kidney to her.
  • In episode 11 of Janda Kembang, after getting from Malik that Wulan doesn't want anything to do with her father Eko, Eko accepts it and explains that he wants to reconnect with Wulan because he was diagnosed with cancer recently and is unsure about how long he can live. This revelation brings Wulan to tears and changes her mind
  • In an episode of Las Vegas, a childhood friend of Delinda Deline shows up, only to inform her that he's dying of cancer, and is going down a bucket list. This list includes sleeping with her. Turns out Sam does instead.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • An alternate-future Jake says this in "The Visitor". Subverted as he then explains that when anyone of advanced age says they are dying, they are simply admitting to the inevitable. Double subverted when it turns out he really had injected himself a precisely timed poison, intending to die the next morning at exactly the right time to save his father in the past.
    • Quark says this in the teaser of "Body Parts". Subverted when it turns out that he was misdiagnosed.
    • In "Ties of Blood and Water", a visiting Cardassian dissident, Tekeny Ghemor, comes aboard to visit Major Kira Nerys. After she tries to enlist his help in leading the movement against the Cardassian-Dominion joint alliance, he suddenly reveals that he has an as-yet-unheard-of ailment and that, you see, he's dying.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Brothers", Evil Twin android Lore is about to walk out on his creator Dr Soong when the latter reveals that he is dying — as Lore, for all his faults, does have emotions, this makes him stop.

    Video Games 
  • Thane Krios from Mass Effect 2, who joins the suicide mission precisely because he doesn't have much time left, and he wants to make the galaxy a better place before he dies. By Mass Effect 3, his condition has worsened to the point where he stuck in a hospital on bed rest. He manages to rescue the Salarian councillor from an assassin while on his deathbed, and dies surrounded by friends and family
  • Shinjiro Aragaki of Persona 3 also plays with this trope a bit. He never explicitly tells anyone that he is dying; Akihiko expresses concerns about the side effects of the medication he's taking and an attentive player will notice that his critical failure animation in combat is a coughing fit, but it's not until almost the last minute that Takaya reveals it for him, and even then it's more implied than directly stated.
  • Mega Man (Classic): Due to the flawed core he was outfitted with, Mega Man's elder brother Blues/Proto Man is technically in a constant state of dying. Due to the instability of his nuclear core, nobody knows how or when it will finally explode or die out on him, but it's presumed inevitable.
  • In Fallout 4, Shaun informs you that he is dying of terminal cancer, if you remain on friendly terms with the Institute after the battle of Bunker Hill
  • In Mafia III when players complete his loyalty missions, Thomas Burke will reveal that that he has liver cancer and only has 6-8 months left. This can be subverted in his ending where he uses the money to travel to Mexico and receive a liver transplant only to die in a gang fight in 1984.
  • Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth drops this on the player as early as its initial story trailer, where none other than Kazuma Kiryu, the protagonist of almost the entire series up to this point, reveals that he has cancer, but isn't content to settle down, wanting to put what little time he has left to use.
    Kiryu: Life is written in the single stroke of a brush. That's why you've gotta make every moment count. I figured I knew that well enough already... but I guess I've got a lot to learn.
    Eric: Kiryu-san?
    Ichiban: Did... something happen?
    Kiryu: Well... I suppose you two ought to know. Thing is... I've got cancer.

    Visual Novels 
  • Heiress II: This is essentially the entire premise of the visual novel. The main character is purchased in a charity date auction by a young woman who explains that she was poisoned by a harmful by-product in a bottle of improperly prepared hand lotion (It sounds a lot less goofy when explained in-game) and asks him to keep her company for her last few hours. Thankfully, in the game's good ending, you can save her.
  • Dhurke Sahdmadhi in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice says this before one of the trials. Being a mystery game though, there's a little more to it than it seems. He isn't just dying, he's already dead. The Dhurke we've known for the entirety of the case is actually Maya or Amara channeling his spirit (spirit channeling is real in the series; it's complicated). His spirit can't stay around for much longer, so he claims this trope because the real truth is even more painful.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Jerry tells Susan, Sarah, and Grace that he is getting ready to die because he has reached the point where living for longer would be counterproductive for an Immortal.
  • Zig-zagged in the The Order of the Stick prequel On the Origin of PCs. Eugene Greenhilt tells his son "I'm dying, Roy." Roy doesn't take it very seriously, considering the Eugene has repeatedly died and returned before. Eugene then clarifies that this time he's dying of old age and won't be coming back.
    Web Original 
  • The London Librarian and her mother are both in remission from cancer... and having the time of their lives messing with a Humanoid Abomination. They're planning to die of natural causes just to tick him off even further.

    Western Animation