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Your Days Are Numbered

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K'tano: Imhotep himself declared your days were numbered.
Col. Jack O'Neill: Well, that's fine. As long as it's a really big number.

A very basic premise — Alice is doomed, and she knows it. Whether it's due to a prophecy, a curse, a disease or something Time Travel related, it doesn't matter. What matters is that in the near future, she will die, and there is nothing she can do about it. Alternatively, Bob knows that Alice is doomed, but he also knows he can do nothing to save her.


Either way, cue misery and angsting. The character may also go through the Five Stages of Grief. They may also try to finish some important tasks while they still have time. Of course, this does not mean that Alice cannot be saved in the end — there just needs to be a period during which it seems like she is doomed. The seeming inevitability of a character's death can be heartbreaking, although if taken too far, it may come across as Deus Angst Machina.

It may be physically represented in Death's Hourglass.

See also Secretly Dying, You See, I'm Dying, Like You Were Dying, Someone Has to Die, The Last Dance, Last Day to Live, I Will Only Slow You Down, Almost Dead Guy, Living on Borrowed Time, You Are Already Dead, Whodunnit to Me?, and Wring Every Last Drop out of Him.

Not to be confused with You Have No Chance to Survive, which is when the antagonist simply says "Your days are numbered!" or something similar, as a threat. Unless Alice is actually doomed, the statement in itself is that, not this.


This is possibly a death trope, and it may include spoilers, especially if this isn't revealed until later in the media.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A huge part of Coach Munakata's character and motivations in Aim for the Ace! are centered on how he has three years to live due to leukemia.
    • This is parodied with "Coach" Ohta of GunBuster, who is poisoned by space radiation and is presumed to only have six months to live. This sends Kazumi into a Heroic BSoD when she thinks he's passed on while she and Noriko are preparing to fight the Space Monsters in the titular mecha. Not only is he still alive when they get back, Kazumi and Coach get married and spend a year together before he finally does pass on.
  • Attack on Titan: Chapter 88 reveals that Titan Shifters are all subject to what is referred to as "The Curse of Ymir", which gives them thirteen years to live before their body hits its limit and starts breaking down. It's claimed that Ymir Fritz, the being who originally held the powers of the titans, died thirteen years to the day after gaining her powers. This doesn't bode well for Eren and Armin as by best count the former has eight years left, probably even less, while the latter only just gained powers before discovering this.
    • The events after the Time Skip focus heavily on this particular plot point. Marley refers to it as a "Tenure", and begins the process of selecting the next Warrior in the final years. Gabi, Falco, Udo, and Zofia are all candidates being considered to inherit the Armored Titan from Reiner (who has 2 years left), while Colt has been selected to inherit the Beast Titan from Zeke in a year's time.
      • After Zeke betrays Marley and is on Paradis Island, it's revealed that the person who will inherit the Beast Titan is actually Historia Reiss, as she's the only other surviving character with royal blood. Historia is currently pregnant, and her child is expected to inherit the Beast Titan after Historia's term is over. It's discussed that Historia was made pregnant so that they'd have to keep Zeke alive for as long as possible, as Historia's baby would die should she be transformed while pregnant, although exactly who's responsible isn't yet known.
  • Motorball champion Jashugan in Battle Angel Alita. The modifications that make him the elite athlete/fighter that he is are killing him, but he'd rather go down defending his title than retiring.
  • Bokurano. The cast soon learns that this is true for the whole lot of them as Zearth's pilots; a lottery picks out who'll be next, and the time is decided randomly. The main story is arguably to see how each of the characters deal with this knowledge, in light of their own lives.
  • In Boku no Hatsukoi wo Kimi ni Sasagu, main character Takuma is expected not to reach adulthood. He may die before he becomes twenty due to a heart disease he was born with.
  • In Buso Renkin, when Kazuki becomes a victor he has six weeks before the change becomes permanent. He vows to kill himself before his Superpowered Evil Side becomes permanent.
  • At the end of Ceres, Celestial Legend, it's revealed that Tooya has only a year or two left to live. Both Tooya and Aya know it, hence the scene where Tooya begs Yuuhi to take care of Aya and their baby when he kicks the bucket. Though he did add that he's not sure.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Rosette made a contract with Chrono, a demon, saying that she will give him the ability to use his powers at the cost of her own lifespan. The sign of their contract is a watch Rosette wears around her neck, which counts down the time she has left to the very minute.
    • Also, it's revealed in flashbacks that Mary Magdalene had seen visions from her childhood that she would be killed by someone named Chrono. Once she meets him, she's well aware that it means she will soon die by his hand, but willingly leaves with him anyway, believing that You Can't Fight Fate.
  • The only power of Oruha in Clover is to know the exact moment she will die. And the readers know too if they started reading the volumes in order.
  • In Death Note each human has an "expiration date" that Shinigami, and humans who've traded half their remaining life for "shinigami eyes", can see. Death Notes cause those whose names are written in them to die sometime before their original appointed time, and when a shinigami does that their victim's remaining time is added to their own, humans aren't so lucky. Though apparently, if a shinigami kills a human who was supposed to cause the death of another human they crumble into dust for breaking the rules and their life is added to the human they saved.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • After the death of Raditz in Dragon Ball Z, the readers/viewers learn that both Kami and Piccolo are aware that they are going to die in the next year when the other two Saiyans arrive. While Kami doesn't know the course of their deaths, he theorizes that this knowledge might have changed Piccolo's personality and status as a demon, which explains why Piccolo trains Gohan and does show him mercy. And indeed, Piccolo dies by sacrificing himself for Gohan, leading to Kami's death.
    • When Krillin meets Grand Elder Guru, the latter reveals he has only a short amount of time to live. He does die because of his old age, but the progress was accelerated by Freeza's action. When the Grand Elder is revived by the Dragon Balls, he only gains the stolen lifespan back. But that's long enough for him to put his affairs in order, appointing his eldest son Tsuno as the new Grand Elder and ensuring that the Namek Dragon Balls would remain functional.
  • In recent chapters of the newly revived manga D.N.Angel, Satoshi has told Daisuke that all members of the Hikari family die young, and he believes he's near his own death.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Rei is hit with an attack by Raoh that would kill him painfully in three days' time. While he's able to rescue Mamiya before his deadline, it seems as though Yuda, a fellow Nanto practitioner who held her captive and whom Rei wished to defeat to avenge her honor, would evade him before he died. Thankfully, Toki was able to give Rei one more day with his medical application of Hokuto Shinken, allowing him to defeat Yuda.
  • Due to the incredible strain of keeping the family in some sort of order, the heads of the Sohma family in Fruits Basket never live past thirty. That's what, in fact, made Akito's father Akira ill... and ultimately killed him. Akito shows signs of illness in the anime and that's her Freudian Excuse, but in the manga, her bad health seems to come more from deep seated psychological problems, courtesy of her Manipulative Bitch mother; when she gets better, the signs of illness seem to disappear.
  • Alfons Heiderich from the Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa. He knows he's gonna die soon of cancer due to breathing rocket fumes, and he's desperate to finish his project for the rocket in time.
  • The 'players' in Future Diary have what is known as a BAD END: When their future-revealing diaries get an entry that reveals when they'll die, death is all but certain to occur at that point. There is a chance to Screw Destiny involved and the main character has managed to do this several times, in no small part due to his Stalker with a Crush's device, which gives fine-detail information about the how as regards to him.
    • Also, it turns out that the reason for the game is that the god of that world's days are numbered, and the world will end if that happens before he finds a successor. Why that issue needs to be solved with a no holds barred Battle Royale is anyone's guess, but God Is Evil in this series.
    • Yuno (for reasons unrelated to her health). Her days are numbered because she essentially volunteers to die at the game's end so that Yuki can become a god.
  • In Gakuen Alice, Natsume Hyuuga suffers from the life-draining Alice whereby he exchanges his life for a limitless Alice. Caring about his friends, he kept his illness a secret from Mikan and Ruka so they wouldn't worry when he uses his powers.
  • Grave of the Fireflies has a scene in which Seita and Setsuko, the brother and sister who serve as protagonists, capture a large number of fireflies and keep them nearby overnight. The next morning, all the fireflies are dead. Given the number of people who are killed by bombs or starvation in the movie, as well as its connection to the title, this scene is obviously meant to represent something beyond dead insects.
  • The premise of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit is that anytime at all, anyone between the age of 18 and 24 might get their "death papers", informing them that they have 24 hours left to live.
  • In Inuyasha, Miroku's Wind Tunnel is a curse inherited from his father which dooms him to an early death unless the source of the original curse, Naraku, is killed. After an incident in which he absorbs massive amounts of toxic miasma trying to take Naraku out so that Kohaku won't have to be sacrificed, the time frame of Miroku's impending death moves up from "sometime in the nebulous future" to "any day now." When Naraku is defeated, said Wind Tunnel disappears.
  • Zigzagged in Inuyashiki; The titular Inuyashiki is an elderly salaryman who's diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer and given only three months to live. Then he's mortally wounded by a UFO crash and rebuilt as a cyborg loaded with advanced weaponry, and at the end of the series, he blows himself up to stop an asteroid from destroying the Earth, which happens right around the time his cancer would have killed him.
  • In Jujutsu Kaisen this concept is actually worked TOWARDS by Yuji Itadori to reduce that number as much as possible. Although, nobody knows how long it will take, Once he consumes all 20 of Sukuna's fingers he's scheduled to be executed so the demon can be properly exorcised and wipe out their curse before it can exert itself on the world. Yuji has accepted this as his duty and the way he chooses to die.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Precia from the first season was suffered from an Incurable Cough of Death and mentioned at one point that she didn't have much time left. Exactly what she was suffering from is never specified in the main series (in the movie continuity, it's the magical equivalent of radiation poisoning). She ended up suffering a Disney Villain Death before it could do her in, though she probably only had a few weeks left otherwise.
    • Hayate was bound to the Book of Darkness, which was slowly eating away at her life force and had rendered her paraplegic. The plot of A's was set in motion by the Wolkenritter attempting to satiate the book's hunger with stolen Linker Cores in the hope that it would reverse (or at the very least halt) her deteriorating condition. Thanks to her being freed from the book's influence at the end of the season, she ends up making a full recovery and eventually regained use of her legs.
    • In The Battle of Aces, it's stated that Reinforce Eins doesn't have much time to live in spite of having avoided sacrificing herself. This becomes obvious in Gears of Destiny, where she is Nerfed.
  • Macross Frontier has this come to Sheryl Nome late in the series, and it's heartbreaking, especially how it ties into Break the Cutie and Break the Haughty. Luckily for her, while Ranka can't get rid of the infection, she manages to move it to a far less lethal place in Sheryl's body and saves her life..
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, Eagle Vision is Secretly Dying thanks to his overuse of his country's mentally-powered technology. (The versions differ slightly in that he will become comatose rather than dead in the manga, but it's still effectively the end of his life.) Although he keeps it from his friends, Eagle is well aware that he doesn't have much time left and takes it as license to be utterly reckless and ruthless in his quest to become Cephiro's new Pillar.
  • The conceit of Mahoromatic, where the protagonist is a gynoid with limited battery life remaining. Each segment of the anime and manga ends with how many days she has left to live.
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, the siblings from Neo Mexico Gina and Chico Rodriguez already know that Delicate and Sickly Gina's Soap Opera Disease is incurable and that she's almost done with her life. Chico becomes the Neo-Mexican fighter not to get a miracle cure, but to bring her to Earth and give her a chance to die peacefully. Thanks to Domon and Rain, they get it.
  • Yoite in Nabari no Ou uses a dangerous jutsu called Kira which essentially kills his targets using his own life force as bullets. As a result, he's dying by inches throughout the series, since every time he uses his power he loses a bit of his life that he can't get back. This is a source of non-stop anguish.
  • One Piece:
    • A later revealed part of the backstory of Gold Roger is that he had contracted an incurable terminal illness that gave him a limited time remaining to live. Being a badass, he decided that, if he was going to die anyway, he might as well conquer the Grand Line first. He does, making him the only person thus far to manage it. It's also the reason the Marines were able to capture and subsequently execute him, as Roger turned himself in as part of a Thanatos Gambit.
    • It was revealed that Trafalgar Law did not have much longer to live when he asked to join the Donquixote pirates as a child. The only reason he's managed to survive to the current timeline was because of the actions of Doflamingo's kindhearted brother Rocinante/Corazon.
  • Xerxes Break in PandoraHearts. His body is slowly breaking down from the strain of being Mad Hatter's contractor. Mostly because it's the second time he's been a contractor. The first time was an illegal contract.
  • In Plastic Memories, Giftia can only be active for 81920 hours (about 9 years). According to the SAI Corporation, they lose their personalities and memories when they reach their expiration date, effectively "killing" whatever personality the android had up to that point.
  • Ashitaka spends most of Princess Mononoke with a curse on his arm that is slowly spreading until it will kill him. When the Forest Spirit gets its head back, Ashitaka, San, and the villagers with leprosy are cured.
  • The Reveal of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, that being that the Soul Gems borne by each Magical Girl are darkening over time due to use of their magic and negative emotions like sadness and despair. Though cleansing Soul Gems is possible through the use of the Grief Seeds left by the monsters that they kill, it is only a matter of time before the Gem darkens completely, turning into a Grief Seed and turning the Magical Girl into one of the very monsters that she and the others fight. No Magical Girl can escape this fate, and there's no way to change the rule, well, except one. In the new world written by God Madoka, this is softened. The Soul Gems are still prone to overuse and darkness, but the girl who falls victim to it will Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence instead.
  • Purple Eyes in the Dark reveals that humans with the ability to turn into an animal form tend to not live very long. Rinko's mother died early on, said to be because she carried the gene with this ability.
  • Ranma ½: Due to a serious injury Shinnosuke suffered years ago, he needs Water of Life, which his grandfather, his only human companion for much (if not all) of his life, gathers and provides for him to stay alive since his grandfather knows of his condition while he's himself oblivious to it. Unfortunately, the healing effect of the Water of Life on Shinnosuke grows less and less potent as time goes by, requiring him to take more and more of it in increasingly shorter periods. Worse, the springs from which the Water issues have been drying up. His grandfather realizes that — one way or another — Shinnosuke is doomed to die. Near the end of his story arc, however, his grandfather applies the source of the Water of Life on the scarred area of Shinnosuke's body, which permanently heals him.
  • It's implied that Kurumi from School-Live! won't survive to the end of the series. Her health is quickly deteriorating because the vaccine used to stop her from becoming a zombie doesn't work forever. At the very least, she believes she is dying and has told her friends to prepare for that.
  • With Power Degeneration being rampant in Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, various characters are dying for different reasons and have all gracefully accepted their inevitable deaths. By the end, Ken, at least, has a temporary cure as long as the doctor who can provide it remains alive, but despite a few hints of hope, there's no way to save the the Ushio brothers.
  • Golems in Somali and the Forest Spirit live for exactly 1,000 years, at which point they stop working completely and become one with nature. At the start of the story, Somali's "father" has less than two years of life remaining, compelling him to return her to her birth parents before he passes.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the flawed Half-Human Hybrids known as "Half-humans" have a shortened lifespan compared to either parent race. While their external bodies remain youthful in appearance, their bodies begin to break down as they reach their mid-20s. The eldest known Half-human, Kishou Arima, was in his early 30s when he chose suicide over a slow death from old age.
  • In Vinland Saga:
    • Thors is essentially doomed the moment Floki and the Jomsvikings track him down to Iceland and knows it. He intentionally cuts down on the crew he takes with him 'to war' to limit any collateral damage in an assassination attempt, and spends his last days trying to impart wisdom to his son and arranging for his family. When the assassins finally come for him, he commits a Heroic Sacrifice to save his travelling companions from his own fate knowing he's not escaping alive either way.
    • Bjorn takes a gut wound from a sword. In a setting without antibiotics, this essentially means a slow death from an infected wound and he's aware of it, which is why he chooses death in a duel.
  • A cicada youkai in Yo-Kai Watch believes he only has a week to live and tries to extend his life. After finding out it's a moot point he tries to make the best of what little time he has left... However, being a yo-kai he is already dead and he just passes out exhausted after his timer is up, because he spent so much time trying to have fun and didn't sleep much.
  • Your Lie in April:
    • Kouse's mother Saki realized she didn't have much time left in her life due to her illness. Because of that, she taught Kousei as much as she could about how to play piano accurately according to the music score, giving him the nickname "Human Metronome". She did this with the hope that Kousei would be able to make an income and have a decent life with his piano playing after she was dead. Her plan backfires horribly after Kousei gets fed up with her abuse and harsh critique. She died shortly afterwards, leaving Kousei dealing with trauma that made him unable to hear his own piano playing at the start of the series.
    • After she saw her parents crying in the hospital waiting room one night, Kaori realized she didn't have much time left in her life, so she decided to live a full and happy life before passing away. Then, she told the titular lie about liking Watari, for the sake of approaching Kousei, the guy that become her reason to become violinist and also to help Kousei overcome his trauma so that he could return to the music world once again and continue his journey as a musician.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius, the titular character estimates that at the rate his Super Intelligence is increasing he'll be driven mad by the time he's 21.
  • The Batman Dailies once featured a story about a man with 10 days left to live. Oh, and he was getting married when he found out about it.
  • Heroic Age story 1 Month 2 Live. An ordinary man is exposed to toxic chemicals a la Daredevil. While he does gain powers, he also gains terminal cancer and the prognosis in the title. The book then becomes the story of the man and his family desperately trying to find a cure.
  • The main plot hook of The Sculptor. 200 days.
  • Shakara: Shakara is already dying because he's infected with the Red Death, the same disease that wiped out its creators and whose destruction by their enemies he is sworn to avenge. In the last issues, this becomes a Race Against the Clock as Shakara tries to stop the Big Bad from destroying all reality before he expires.
  • This is the fundamental concept of Strikeforce: Morituri, where the heroes gain superpowers (to fight off an Alien Invasion) via a process that kills them inside of a year. Notably highlighted when they are reprimanded for attacking the aliens without authorization; in response, Ruth "Toxyn" Mastorakis administers a poison to her teammates, then explains it as the desperation the Morituri feel every moment they are kept away from active duty.
  • Superman:
    • All-Star Superman: With only a year to live due to solar radiation poisoning, Superman decides to get his last few odds and ends in order, finish off those last few bad guys, finally open up fully to Lois Lane and maybe give Lex Luthor one last thrashing.
    • In The Last Days Of Superman, Superman is dying from a very rare illness and has only thirty days left to live. Superman tries to get everything done before his passing, but he becomes too weakened and has to rely on Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes to carry out all his remaining tasks.
    • In The Final Days of Superman, Superman learns that his body is falling apart and he sets about trying to get everything in order before he passes on.
    • Played with in the Infinite Frontier series. Jonathan Kent has returned from the future, and tells his father that history makes no mention of him after a certain day, when he leaves Earth. Jon is extremely reluctant to let Clark leave to help the people of War World and take up his father's mantle because of this. Clark approaches things with a Screw Destiny outlook, but does hand his son the reins of being Superman just in case Jon is correct.
  • Subverted in Transmetropolitan. Spider Jerusalem learns that his mind is decaying as a result of a buildup of a certain dangerous nanotechnology in his brain — the effects are similar to Alzheimer's Disease. He is given an amount of time before he degenerates to a state of helplessness, but instead of wallowing in misery or angst, he takes a moment to feel the fear and grief, then he collects himself and tells his assistants that... well:
    Channon: Spider... what're you going to do? You might not be able to write a year from now. Or anything.
    Spider: [magnificent bastard grin] So we've got a deadline. We can do deadlines.
    • And in a final subversion he turns out to be part of the one percent of victims to recover, though he keeps this a secret.
  • Iron Man in The Ultimates: He became a member of the Ultimates once he found out he had an inoperable brain tumor that would eventually kill him off, and decided that he would try to do all he could to help the world if he could not help himself before he dies.
  • The premise of The Wicked + The Divine. Every Ninety years, twelve gods of the Pantheon are reincarnated into the bodies of young people, all of whom will then die in two years. While none of the deaths shown so far have been natural, at one point Ananke states that the gods' "divinity would consume them soon enough". As of the 455 AD special, it appears she was correct on that score, in a gruesomely literal way!
  • Once perpetrated on X-Man — essentially, there was something in his genes that would lead to his death in the near future. Warren Ellis, who wrote subsequent issues of the comic, referred to it as the "Dead At 21 TV Plot Engine" and advocated getting rid of it as fast as possible.
  • This is part of the plot of Young Liars. In the first chapter, the reader learns that Sadie, one of the main characters, survives a gunshot wound to the head, but is told by the doctor that sooner or later, she will die due to the bullet slowly migrating through the skull.
  • Badrock in Youngblood (2017), who is dying of McCall's Disease, a disease named just for him. (It's heavily implied that the experiment that gave him his powers is now killing him). This is what inspires him to help found a new Youngblood team.
    Badrock: I just want to be remembered for something more than "Yabba Dabba Doom". This is as close to a legacy as I'm likely to get, and I aim to make a difference before I... well, you know.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Mysterio declares this word-for-word to All Might as part of a Badass Boast.
    Mysterio: Beware All Might, for your days are numbered! So says… MYSTERIO!
  • In And everything's gonna change, now., Raven has a vision that she's dying. This leads her to marry her best friend Chelsea so that her twins will still have a mother after she dies. However, as normal, Raven's visions aren't 100% accurate. She isn't the one in trouble — Chelsea is.
  • In The Archmage's Last Bow, Nova Shine is informed that he is dying because there is too much magical energy in his body, and it's only growing. He starts laughing, which rapidly turns to sobbing, and even a few weeks later, he is still completely despondent, from which Star Swirl is able to glean that Nova fears dying and offers him a small, fragile chance at survival.
  • Becoming a True Invader: The Employer sabotages Zim's PAK so that he no longer receives vital nutrients transmitted by the Control Brains, significantly cutting short his lifespan. Fortunately, at the end of the story Crax develops a workaround involving regularly consuming Earth food.
  • In Blood Ties (Fullmetal Alchemist), Alphonse has less than a week to live because he doesn't have enough of a soul for his body. Part of his soul is bonded with his brother Edward, but Edward has been assumed dead for two years.
  • In Child of the Storm, Doctor Strange, who has been The Ageless since long before he became the Sorcerer Supreme in 1645, reveals this a little over halfway through the first book, and reiterates it in the sequel. Being both a time traveller and a very powerful Seer, he knows exactly when he's going to die, and is making preparations for his death. Among them, bequeathing the position of Sorcerer Supreme on his former apprentice, Wanda Maximoff.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Polaris' Smurfy New Life," the Smurfs learn that Psyches have a degenerative disease that activates itself about one year after their disconnection from the collective conscience in Psychelia, which results in death in a matter of hours or days. The only way it can be averted, according to the Psyche Master, is that the Psyche must be returned to Psychelia and reconnected to the collective conscience, though in the process Empath's friend Polaris Psyche would lose all memory of both Empath and the Smurfs. Fortunately, though, Papa Smurf manages to save Polaris' life without the need for him to return to Psychelia, by having him ingest a potion called the Long Life Elixir, although it has the temporary side effect of turning Polaris' skin blue like a Smurf.
  • The Fanfic Endless Numbered Days [1] true to its title in relation to Satsuki's lung cancer and the disease later on hits terminal.
  • Fate Revelation Online: The fic starts shortly after the Fifth Holy Grail War. Illya is still alive, but as a homunculus designed solely for the War, she doesn't have much longer. Part of the reason that Shirou lets her drag him into Sword Art Online (and they are subsequently trapped with everyone else) is that he is willing to indulge her whims since she doesn't have much time left. When Illya discovers a secret she shouldn't, Kayaba himself contacts her and offers to try to extend her lifespan if she works with him. She doesn't really believe he can do it, but she agrees anyway.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles: During the Season 7 chapter "Reinforcements from the Future", Flash meets an adult version of his apprentice Fire Heart who traveled back in time chasing a time-traveling renegade changeling to stop him from ruining a peace conference. While working together, the adult Fire Heart reveals that Flash will die at some point in the future, sacrificing himself to save every kingdom. Flash seems to accept his fate at first, telling Fire Heart not to reveal anymore so he won't risk the timeline, but by the end of the chapter silently declares to himself that he is going to survive his supposed fate and change the future for the better.
  • Girls und Panzer fanfic Twilight of Life is about Nonna who learns from a classmate that she will die the next evening at sunset, and spends her last moments with Katyusha.
  • In It's not the Raptor DNA, Elise's sister was born with a weak skeleton that couldn't have supported her past a certain age. The sad part was that even if she had gotten help, all they could do was keep her alive and prolong her suffering.
  • I Hope You Have Unlimited Text Messaging: Over the course of Tony's life, Howard Stark suffered no less than ten assassination attempts by HYDRA, the last of which was carried out by their ultimate weapon, the Winter Soldier. Though it isn't said out loud, both Tony and Steve realize that Howard was probably going to die at HYDRA's hand no matter what happened.
  • Kill la Kill AU: In Room 002108, this occurs initially with Ryuuko, when she was ill with an unknown illness the which she was hospitalized for tests. According to Rei and from what the readers could observe, if she wasn't taken to be treated abroad, then she wouldn't have lived past her ninth birthday, especially when the illness turned septicemic and would have caused her organs to fail.
  • The Outside: The end has the doctor explaining to Ryuuko and Ragyo that, while they don't know how long exactly Satsuki will live after that event, they do know her life expectancy is shorter than the former's, effectively saying this trope.
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, after being struck with the Withering Curse, Hermione is told out that she has only a week to live at most.
  • In Purple Days, Joffrey raids Grand Maester Pycelle's records, in which he finds evidence of a long poisoning campaign he's been submitting Robert to on Tywin's orders. A mournful Joffrey realizes either Pycelle made a mistake or the poisoning was more effective than expected, and in either case, the man holding the Seven Kingdoms in line is doomed by the start of the "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • In The Queen's Consort, it is established that while fairies are immortal by nature, they would feel when it is time for them to die and "pass on across the veil", portraying death as soft-deterministic for fairies. When a royal fairy feels like it is their time, they have a successor whether it is their own child or an apprentice (as was the case with Elsa and her mother).
  • Requiem for a Loud: Lincoln Loud is diagnosed with a terminal illness that will kill him in two to three weeks.
  • Scoob and Shag: Due to seeing his time-traveling self die in front of him, Patrick has known for around twenty-two years that he's doomed to die giving his final report.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Halfway through Alien³, Ripley discovers that she's carrying the embryo of a Xenomorph Queen. One way or another, she knows that she's going to die when it rips out of her and at one point even begs Dillon to kill her.
  • Bill Kraus in And the Band Played On discovers he has AIDS.
  • The replicants in Blade Runner have returned to Earth to find a way to extend their four-year lifespan, but it is in vain.
  • Shortened to two days by the presumably more impatient, or possibly more merciful, spirit in Chakushin Ari/One Missed Call.
  • The end of the second Death Note movie and the L spinoff movie relies on this. L managed to write his own name in the Death Note, which gives him exactly 23 days of life but guarantees he can't be killed (even by having his name written in another Death Note) before that. He uses them to keep investigating and working.
  • Invoked in Dogma. Rufus (played by Chris Rock) reveals that Jesus sent him a message revealing the day he would die. It wound up taking the enjoyment out of his remaining years since he knew they would be up.
  • Drag Me to Hell — Allison is gypsy-cursed to have her soul dragged to hell in three days.
  • Frank must deal with a Whodunnit to Me? situation in this way in D.O.A.
  • The Black Comedy The End features Burt Reynolds as a man who begins a series of hilariously unsuccessful suicide attempts after discovering he's got a terminal disease.
  • In Florence Foster Jenkins, Florence knows that she's outlived most people with her chronic illness by over 30 years, and resolves to perform at Carnegie Hall regardless of the risks because she might as well make the most of her time. Her pianist gets quite choked up when he realizes that she carries her will with her at all times.
  • In Grand Hotel, Otto Kringelein, a meek accountant, after discovering that he has a terminal illness, spends all the money he saved to spend the end of his life in luxury in the eponymous hotel.
  • Connor and Heather in Highlander, and all immortal/mortal love stories since, as the character says: "You are all dying. Twenty years, six months, what's the difference?"
    • Also presumably the reason why the Kurgan avoids killing mortals through the movie. Not Candy the sex worker. Not the vigilante guy who shot him with an Uzi. Not even poor Heather after he raped her back in 1542. He's a hedonistic psychopath with an immortal lifespan, so it makes sense he associates so little with mortal humans that he sees no functional difference between killing them and leaving them to live out their years, plus he avoids problems with the authorities this way.
  • In Ikiru, Kanji Watanabe learns he has fatal stomach cancer and spends his last days trying to find meaning in his formerly pointless life.
  • In Time mainly based on this. To put bluntly, everyone is allowed to live until 25 without an issue, but they are only given a year before they die instantly upon the time on their forearm is up. They can add more time in order to live, but there is a cost for living and mind you... time is the currency.
  • The Big Bad of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Viktor Cherevin, is revealed to be dying from his alcoholism and only has a few months left to live.
  • The main character of Joe Versus the Volcano is told by the doctor that he's got X days to live, and then some rich guy offers to let him live the rest of his life (what little there is) in luxury, if he will, in return, jump into a volcano and thus mollify some volcano-god-type who's been getting in the way of his Tropical Island mining project. This is actually a subversion, since in the end it turns out that the doctor had been bribed by the rich guy, and had lied to Joe so that the guy could get the human sacrifice he needed.
  • In the first act of Kate the protagonist is poisoned and warned by a doctor she has 24 hours to live, which incites her to the action of the rest of the movie.
  • Krull: The cyclopes once had two eyes, but they bartered away their second eye to the Beast in order to see the future. The Beast instead tricked them, and the only future they can see is the time of their own death.
  • In Lacombe, Lucien, which is about a teenaged boy working for the French Gestapo in June 1944, this hangs thick in the air. The protagonist is too dumb to realize this, even when his girlfriend tells him directly, but most of his fellow collaborators are quite obviously nervous about what's about to happen.
  • The Living Wake's main character, K. Roth, begins the film knowing he's going to die at 7:33 PM that night. The film then chronicles the last day of his life.
  • The entire premise of Logan's Run, a dystopian future Sci-Fi in which the population issue is addressed by mandating that everyone dies on reaching the age of 30.
  • Night of the Demon — Cult leader Julian Carswell informs Dr. Holden (who is seeking to publicly debunk him) his death will fall on a specific date, thanks to a curse he's cast.
  • In Nine Days of One Year, a nuclear research scientist absorbs a fatal dose of 800 roentgen of radiation. While sitting in the hospital, he comments on how odd it is that he knows he's about to die, while feeling perfectly fine.
  • No Escape (1994): The Father has a progressive Hodgkin's Disease and no way to treat it, which will kill him in two months. This is why 1) he is trying to find a good successor and 2) he has no interest in escaping himself.
  • In Off the Black, Ray is suffering from an unspecified ailment implied to be the result of his service in Vietnam dropping Agent Orange on the forests.
  • Both of the Star-Crossed Lovers in One Way Passage. Dan is being taken from Shanghai to San Francisco by boat to meet a date with the executioner in San Quentin. He's looking for a chance to escape, but Joan, the beautiful socialite he falls in love with, isn't going to be escaping from her terminal illness.
  • The plot of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest kicks off when Bootstrap Bill Turner shows up to inform Captain Jack Sparrow that his time is up.
  • In Return with Honor, Rowe believes that God has told him that he has 60 days to live and teach the gospel to his mother, but because of a Prophecy Twist it's actually his mother who has 60 days to live.
  • Anyone who sees the cursed videotape from The Ring is slated to die in seven days.
  • Parodied in Scary Movie 3:
    Tabitha: Seven days.
    Cindy: Seven days. Oh, my God. I'm gonna die next Monday?
    Tabitha: Yes. No. Wait. Monday. That would be seven business days. This is seven days starting now.
    Cindy: So seven days to this very hour? My watch broke. How am I gonna know the exact hour?
    Tabitha: Forget hours. This day seven days from now.
    Cindy: But there's a holiday coming up. Do you count the holiday?
    Tabitha: Well, that depends. What holiday?
    Cindy: Martin Luther King Day.
    Tabitha: Then no.
    Cindy: Why not? Everybody at work is taking it off.
    Tabitha: Jesus Christ, lady. I'm giving you seven friggin' days. I can come over now and kill the shit out of you if you'd rather have that.
  • The Shootist is about an aging gunfighter (John Wayne) who discovers he's dying of cancer at the dawn of the 20th century and has only weeks to live. Eerily, after making the film Wayne was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died, making The Shootist his last picture.
  • Stranger Than Fiction may be a movie about a novel. The main character hears the narration: "Little did he know that it would lead to his imminent demise."
  • The World Is Not Enough: Renard is a terrorist who is hopelessly in love with Elektra King and he's got a bullet lodged in his brain that's migrating, preventing him from feeling pain, but it's only a matter of time before it kills him.

  • After a few months of feeling ill, a man visits his doctor for a physical. "I'm afraid I've got some very bad news," the doctor says. "You've probably got six months to live according to the tests." "That's terrible!" says the man. "Isn't there anything I can do?" "Well," the doctor says, scratching his chin, "You could get married and move to Georgia." "What?" the man asks. "And that's supposed to help me?" "No, but it'll be the longest six months of your life."
  • A man gets a call from his doctor who tells him he has bad news and worse news. "What's the bad news?" the man asks. "Based on the tests I've run, you only have twenty-four hours to live," the doctor states bluntly. Unsurprisingly, the man is shocked. "Oh dear god, that's horrible!" he utters in disbelief. "What could be worse than that?!" "Well...," the doctor hesitates, "I've been trying to get in touch with you since yesterday."
  • A man hasn't been feeling well, so he goes to his doctor for a physical. Afterward, the doctor comes out with the results. "I'm afraid I've got some very bad news," the doctor says. "You're dying, and you don't have much time left." "That's terrible!" says the man. "How long have I got?" "Ten," the doctor says sadly. "Ten?" the man asks. "Ten what? Months? Weeks? What?" The doctor interrupts, looking at his watch. "Nine... Eight..."
  • A patient storms into a doctor's office: "Doctor, you told me I have a month to live and then you sent me a bill for $1,000! I can't pay that before the end of the month!" The doctor calmly says, "Okay, you have six months to live."

  • In And Then There Were None, the culprit, Lawrence John Wargrave, was dying anyway. In fact, this trope is the motivation behind the plot: Wargrave was a Hanging Judge Knight Templar who reunited ten Karma Houdinis in the same place and engineered their deaths to punish them for their deeds.
  • Taken literally in Animorphs when the last of the Arn, who are extremely adept in biology, is capable of pinpointing to the exact day how long he expects himself to live. As the Animorphs don't trust the Arn, Ax gives the subtle threat that "biology isn't the only factor".
  • Played with in the Belisarius Series:
    • When Eon is mortally wounded, he knows that he will be dead in two weeks
    • Belisarius and Justanian know that Theodora will die from cancer in her thirties. They decide not to tell her.
    • Belisarius tells Narses that his days are numbered. Subverted because it's a big number: 30+ years.
  • Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery Valancy Stirling is 29, unloved, and considered a burden by her wealthier relatives. Experiencing chest pains she sneaks off to see the "other doctor" in town that no one in the family will have anything to do with because he bluntly told one of her wealthier relatives that her illness was caused by self-involvement and to help others. He examines her but runs out mid-exam. The nurse tells Valancy that there has been a horrible accident and the doctor was rushing to attend to the injured. A few days later she receives a letter from him giving her less than a year to live. No longer having to worry about being supported by wealthier she rebels first in small ways like back talking, but eventually, she runs off to care for an old classmate that is dying of consumption, after having had a baby out of wedlock. From there marries the local rogue. When she finds out the letter was a mistake meant for an older woman named Miss Sterling, she fears her husband will think she tricked him on purpose.
  • Books of the Raksura: The titular Humanshifting race's scales turn white when they're close to dying from old age. In The Serpent Sea, Flower brushes off the signs and uses her final days to help secure a new, safe home for her colony.
  • Most of the cast gets this treatment in The Book Thief. Well, technically all of them are under this trope (see Real Life) since Death is the narrator, but we also know most of them die young.
  • In The Butterfly Garden, the girls have until their twenty-first birthday in the Garden. The Gardener only collects teenage girls and kills them before they lose their beauty, then immortalizes them in resin and places them on display in the Glassy Prison with the other girls.
  • The plot of Charlotte's Web involves a spring pig learning he's going to be slaughtered for Christmas dinner and it's up to a spider to praise him with her web so he can live his life.
  • In City of Ashes, when Clary destroys Valentine's ship with a single mark, an awed Valentine says "Mene mene tekel upharsin", in reference to the Biblical quote below. It's given an Ironic Echo later in City of Glass when Clary engineers the failure of all his plans as well as his own death. He's sealed her mouth, so she writes "MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN" in the sand at his feet.
  • In "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin, an 18-year-old girl sneaks onto a space shuttle on a lark. But the ship doesn't have enough fuel to land with her on board. Either she goes out the airlock, voluntarily or otherwise, or the ship will crash. The universe doesn't care which. Published in 1954, the story subverted the usual notion in Golden Age science fiction that all problems could be solved through the power of Science.
  • In Death With Interruptions by José Saramago, Death starts sending purple envelopes to people that arrive one week before their death, to give them some advance notice.
  • Subverted in the Discworld series, where the anthropomorphic personification of Death has an hourglass for every living being on the Disc, counting down accurately to their death... except the wizard Rincewind, whose personal timeline is so messed up at this point that not even Death knows when he'll die.
    • Wizards and witches also have pre-emptive knowledge of when they're going to die, and thus tend to use this knowledge to put their affairs in order. Witches use it to make sure a replacement is found, bequeathing her personal items, making sure a grave is dug, and so on, while wizards tend to borrow large amounts of money from their friends and drink themselves into a stupor. Both sides like to throw a good last party with their friends/colleagues as well.
      • To be specific, they are evidently forewarned about their imminent natural deaths. Just because they haven't sensed this trope in action doesn't mean they can't get themselves killed by doing something reckless or stupid, or be killed by somebody else who couldn't care less if they're bumping up the schedule.
      • Albert (Death's manservant), when he realized he was going to die soon, performed the Rite of AshkEnte, which summons Death, in reverse, hoping to keep Death away, but instead transporting him to Death's domain (which may have been his actual intention). He's effectively immortal there, but if he ever returns to the world, the time he has left (about three months) will start passing again. After the events of Soul Music, his lifetimer is smashed and Death manages to save a few seconds of time in a beer bottle: if Albert ever returns to the Disc again, he'll die immediately. Though the normal rules of time are suspended during Hogswatch Night, so the Hogfather can make all his deliveries in one night, which allows Albert to tag along with Death when he's Subbing For The Hogfather.
    • The lifetimers are physical objects, and rather fragile at that. Several are destroyed and/or fall to the ground and smash during the course of Death's fight with Mort, which makes the nearest convenient death occur instantly (although one man who almost dies of falling is caught on a tree branch because one of the other characters catches his lifetimer).
    • Also, at least one being on the Disc can ignore lifetimers at will - Death himself. In addition to the old trick of simply not collecting the dead in question, at one point Death turns over Mort's lifetimer, giving him extra time.
      • But Death is specifically not supposed to do that, leading to a scene in Hogfather, when it's time for The Little Match Girl to die in a cold, dark alley, and Death is having to spend the night pretending to be the Hogfather. Instead of taking her soul, he extends her life, via Loophole Abuse: Death's not allowed to do that, but the Hogfather can. The Hogfather gives presents. There's no better present than a future.
  • In End of Watch, Bill Hodges learns that he has late-stage pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to his liver, and is given only a year or two at best. As the book progresses he is in increasing pain, to the point that it's a struggle for him to confront the villain in the climax. He does survive to the end of the main story but dies in the epilogue, only eight months later.
  • The final prophecy in Gregor and the Code of Claw refers to the Warrior's death.
  • Occurs to the male protagonists of Hammerjack and its sequel Prodigal. Cray Alden's body is being gradually but irreversibly transformed due to being infected with Ascension-grade Flash, and Nathan Straka is forced to administer himself a massive drug overdose that prevents his brain implant from being hacked but which will be fatal within days.
  • Harry Potter: Albus Dumbledore was slowly dying of a horrible curse in Half-Blood Prince and arranged a quick and easy death with Severus Snape as part of an elaborate Thanatos Gambit (though this isn't revealed until Deathly Hallows). Harry himself found out that he was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, and would also have to die if Voldemort was to be rendered mortal once more. Though fortunately the circumstances of his sacrifice (and the incredibly foolish decision on Voldemort's part to restore his body using Harry's blood back in Goblet of Fire) allowed Harry to survive it.
  • In the Hayven Celestia universe geroo serving on Generation Ships are euthanized at the age of sixty, criminals commonly have years deducted from their remaining lifespan. In the first chapter of Traitors, Thieves, and Liars Captain Ateri is two weeks from his "retirement" date and his chosen successor is very much not ready yet.
  • In The Alchemist by H. P. Lovecraft, each member of the Hereditary Curse dies at the age of 32. It is manually enforced by Charles Le Sorcier. The curse is broken when the last of the line decides to explore the castle and find the secret alchemist's laboratory.
  • In The Infernal Devices, Jem is addicted to a drug (yin fen) that is slowly killing him. However, to stop taking the drug will also kill him.
  • It takes Gilgamesh a long time to accept that he has to die, but once he does, life somehow gets better for him.
  • Conversed with Nicolae Carpathia and Buck Williams in the Dramatic Audio version of the Left Behind book Desecration.
    Nicolae Carpathia: Your days are numbered, my friend.
    Buck Williams: As are yours, "my friend".
    • Anyone who takes the Mark of the Beast and worships his image in the series is also in the same state.
  • In Robert Heinlein's short story Life Line, someone invents a machine that can tell you exactly what that number is. The life insurance companies are not amused.
    • The machine gets referenced in his later novel Methuselah's Children when Lazarus Long claims to have tried it out once, the device's owner refused to share the readout as he was sure it was malfunctioning.
  • Elizabeth aka Beth realizes her days are numbered in Little Women Part Second and spends her last year in a room that her family has turned into a little corner of paradise for her before the inevitable Tear Jerker death scene.
  • The Machineries of Empire: Kel generals can invoke the Vrae Tala clause to override the psychic conditioning that would force them to obey untenable or impossible orders, but slowly sicken and die 100 days later. Throughout the countdown, their troops place memorial candles by their seat at the high table in recognition.
  • In Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, most of the gods and all of the einherjar are destined to die horribly in Ragnorak. They constantly joke about it.
  • The narrator of Jack Ritchie's "For All the Rude People" is diagnosed with a terminal illness which gives him two or three months to live, if he's lucky. He decides to spend his remaining time disposing of everyone who's ever been exceptionally rude to other people.
  • In The Nekropolis Archives novel Nekropolis, the preservation spells which sustain zombie protagonist Matthew Richter's body are beginning to fail, leaving him with only a few days left before he rots away.
  • Orlando Gardiner in Otherland is a teenage boy with progeria, a genetic disease that causes rapid aging and is invariably fatal. He lives his life mainly online, playing a virtual hero while his real body wastes away.
  • Pact plays with this trope. Initially, the reader is led to believe that Rose, the Distaff Counterpart of the protagonist who is trapped in a mirror world, is going to die eventually because she's a fundamentally unstable copy of Blake, who will eventually degrade and vanish. However, it turns out that it's actually Blake whose days are numbered-he's fated to die, and when he does Rose will be able to take his place in the real world.
  • The Raven Tower: The Raven's Lease is the highest authority in the city, but is required to commit ritual suicide when the raven possessed by the eponymous Physical God dies. The narration dryly notes that ambitious people tend to set their sights on positions with slightly less power but a longer tenure.
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: People who become ghosts can spend up to one hundred years on Earth before they have no choice but to move on. The Grand Council of Witches discourages them from sticking around at all though, especially witches.
  • Whoever watches the cursed videotape in The Ring (the original book as well as the movies) will die in seven days unless they figure out how to break the curse. Likewise Samara/Sadako probably figured that being stuck at the bottom of a well boded ill for her chances of survival.
  • Sarah from Nemesis inherited her grandfather's powers that he got from a Super Serum but is also dying because of them. Two of her three brothers are already dead and she claimed that she's been ready to die since she was four years old.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Cinderpelt is told she's going to die by StarClan as a Secret Test of Character. She passes and is reincarnated as one of the newborn kits she died protecting.
    • A medicinecat told Shellheart that the painful lump in his stomach was impossible to survive from. Shellheart died two months after he was told this.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The Chosen One Rand knows that the best-case scenario for the Final Battle against the God of Evil is that he dies saving the world. This does not help his Sanity Slippage throughout the series. He ultimately subverts this through a last-second "Freaky Friday" Flip with his Death Seeker nemesis.
    • All men with the ability to channel are doomed to madness and death by the God of Evil's taint on the male half of the One Power, usually within a few years of beginning to channel, so Rand's army of male channelers hope for nothing more than to die winning the impending Final Battle. When Rand cleanses the taint, they're gobsmacked at the realization that they could live in the new world they're fighting for.
    • The Bloodknives are an elite group of assassins, each equipped with an Artifact of Death ring that drastically boosts their combat and stealth abilities but kills them within a month of its activation. Gawyn activates three such rings at once in an attempt to kill a devastatingly powerful enemy. He fails.
  • Terry Brooks played with this trope in The Wishsong of Shannara. Bremen informs Allanon that if he continues with the quest the heroes are on, he will not live to see its end. Bremen also informs him what it will be that kills him and why it must happen. Allanon isn't thrilled with this news and, briefly, does try to avoid a confrontation with his future killer. When he accepts his death is inevitable and absolutely necessary, he chooses to Face Death with Dignity thus ensuring that the Cycle of Magic can come to a close once the quest is completed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Early in the second season, George Mason is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and is told he has a day or so to live. Twelve episodes/hours later, he takes Jack's place in making a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The plot gets reused in season seven when Jack is infected by the terrorists' weapon and will die within hours, which means he has to bring the villains to justice from the sidelines (his weakened health could make him a liability on the field) and also try to make peace with himself in the remaining time he has left. He's the main character, so he gets a last-minute save by a miracle cure at the end of the season.
  • 45 RPM: The second episode has Robert reveal to Maribel that he only has six months to live due to a heart illness.
  • Babylon 5: After dying in a Heroic Sacrifice and being brought back by a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, Sheridan is given twenty years to live, implied to be a side-effect of his artificial restoration.
  • The premise of Breaking Bad is that after a chemistry teacher learns that he has lung cancer, he starts cooking crystal meth to secure his family's financial future before he dies.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Cassie in season seven had future-seeing powers and knew exactly when she was going to die (a few days from when she was introduced, at age 16). "Help" revolved around Buffy and the gang trying to protect her while convincing her that she might live. They were wrong.
    • Due to the dangerous nature of their profession, most Slayers aren't expected to live long; in "Helpless", it's outright stated that several of them didn't even make it to age 18. Buffy is stated to be the longest-lived Slayer, because, unlike the others, she has friends and family that love her and help her, thus actually giving her something to live for.
    • Buffy herself had the prophecy in "Prophecy Girl". She died, but it didn't stick.
    • Used as the basis for "Lie to Me", where a friend from Buffy's past is dying of a brain tumor, so he arranges a deal with Spike that if he can turn her over to him Spike will, in turn, make him a vampire, as he would rather be immortal even if it means becoming evil than eventually becoming a withered husk. Buffy escapes, but since he technically lived up to his part of the bargain Spike still turns him, only for Buffy to dust him moments after he reawakens.
  • Happens to most of the main characters in Chernobyl. Simply spending time near the eponymous power plant guarantees that Legasov and Scherbina will die of cancer in less than 5 years, and they didn't do any of the more risky tasks. Almost everyone who exposes themselves directly to radiation (the first responder firefighters, several plant workers) is doomed to die in weeks if not days of Acute Radiation Syndrome (not a fun way to go at all).
  • In The Crown (2016), George VI continues to cough blood even after one cancerous lung is removed. He is told by his physician that the team of doctors around him has been keeping secret the extent of George's cancer and that he likely has less than a year to live.
  • The main premise of the obscure MTV series Dead at 21, in which the fugitive victim of a government experiment has one year to keep intelligence-boosting microchips from burning out his brain.
  • In Dead Like Me everyone is predestined to die at an appointed time if The Grim Reaper assigned to collect their soul intervenes to prevent their death their soul rots until taken to the afterlife as it should have been, as George finds out with her first reap. And it turns out that refusing to pick up the sticky note with the reap's name and time doesn't help either as her second one ends up trapped in his dead body while being autopsied.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Fourth Doctor got a preview of his regeneration in the form of the Watcher.
    • On the other side of this trope, the Sixth Doctor spends about an episode of "The Two Doctors" taking unnecessary risks and generally moping about when he believes he is about to be erased from existence due to a time paradox of some sort.
    • The Tenth Doctor got a lot more warning about his impending death than the previous ones, thanks to the "knock four times" prophecy.
    • Eleven was told this in the 2011 series, with the added complication of his companions watching his future self being killed. He got out of it, naturally, but decided to let much of the universe think he hadn't, as his Memetic Badass reputation was becoming more of a hindrance than help.
    • Eleven had already discovered his prophecized death on Trenzalore for which his previous death escape was intended to stop from happening. Once he arrived on Trenzalore and figured out where he was, he made no attempt to run away and lived out his final 900 years there protecting the planet from all his enemies. Fortunately, altering his own past to save the Time Lords instead of destroying them allowed them to send him a new regeneration cycle.
    • Played straight, with a literal timer counting the days, in "A Christmas Carol".
  • The Eternal Love: Lian Cheng can't live past twenty-five. A case of amnesia and time-travel later, and he's (possibly) cured.
  • In The Expanse's first season finale, Jim and Miller unwittingly step into a quarantine room during a bioweapon test and are hit by a gamma radiation sterilization beam, giving them acute - and terminal - radiation sickness. When they finally reach the Rocinante Cool Starship, they are barely able to stand and the ship's Auto Doc keeps entering hospice mode.
  • Fantasy Island (2021): Ruby was dying of cancer when she came to the island along with her husband Mel. The couple wanted a last wonderful vacation for her before she died.
  • The Flash (2014): Due to changes in the timeline at the end of Season 5, the Crisis that would originally happen in 2024 where Barry would disappear will now happen earlier. The exact date is December 10, 2019, and according to The Monitor, in order to save The Multiverse, the Flash has to die.
  • From FlashForward (2009), Demetri didn't have a flash-forward, making him fear that he won't live up until those six months.
  • Played for Laughs in Friends when Phoebe's psychic friend tells her she will die in three days, making Phoebe distressed and trying to do everything she can to enjoy her last few days alive. Then it turns out the psychic read her cards wrong and she was the one who was supposed to die instead.
  • In Season 4 of Fringe, September, an Observer, appears from the future when he gets shot by Jessica he tells Olivia that, "in every possible outcome you have to die" when she is waiting for Lincoln and Peter to return from the other side. In the season finale she is shot and killed by Walter to prevent the collapse of both Universes, however, she is resurrected by the Cortexiphan in her system (debatable fulfillment of September's prophecy).
  • Game of Thrones: Thanks to his greyscale infection, Jorah is pretty much doomed no matter what he does. Sam's treatment manages to save his life.
  • The plot of the first two series of GARO. In series one, Kaoru is covered in the blood of a Horror and will die within 100 days. In series two, all Makai Knights in the show are branded with a cursed seal that is slowly killing them.
  • In the Heroes episode "Seven Minutes to Midnight", a waitress named Charlie is murdered in the diner in which she worked. In a later episode in that season, "Six Months Ago", Hiro travels back in time to prevent Charlie's death, only to find out that she has a blood clot in her brain that will kill her soon, no matter what. And then, in a surprising twist in the FAR later "Once Upon a Time in Texas", Hiro returns to the past again, crosses his own timeline, and saves her and removes the clot in a particularly risky trade by effectively telling still morally-confused Sylar that he is destined to be a villain. Hiro ends up telling him that by the time he's come back, Sylar had already died alone. He managed to prevent Charlie's doom and (unknowingly mis)inform Sylar of his own.
  • Used in Highlander, when the immortal Methos falls in love with terminally ill Alexa Bond and tries to cure her by finding the Methuselah stone.
  • Several patients in House have, or believe they have, a limited amount of time left to live. That's not even counting the ones who get this as part of their diagnosis.
    • The Patient of the Week in "Autopsy" is a little girl with terminal cancer who has about a year left to live and then develops a condition that could cut even that short. Because of her age, they make the decision to do a risky procedure in hopes of buying her that year.
    • A secondary character in "House vs. God" is a terminal cancer patient. The events of the episode end up buying her a little extra time, but Wilson warns that it's not permanent.
    • "Brave Heart" involves a man convinced he's doomed to die at the age of 40 because his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all did. Subverted in the end when House determines the hereditary issue that caused this and it's curable.
    • The B-plot of "The C Word" involves a little girl who has a genetic disorder that cuts her life expectancy to 20 years.
    • In the penultimate episode, Wilson learns that his cancer is terminal and that he has a few years to live with treatment, or about five months to live without it. He chooses the latter option, wanting to get the most out of the time he has left rather than stretch it out at the expense of spending all that time sick.
    • Thirteen has Huntington's chorea, a hereditary, degenerative, and fatal disease.
  • At the start of the second season of Jessica Jones (2015), law shark Jeri Hogarth is diagnosed with ALS. Most of her actions from the rest of the series relate to her struggling to cope with the fact that she'll be dead within a few years, and also that she'll have a long period of physical degeneration first.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Yui in Kamen Rider Ryuki is fated to disappear on her 20th birthday. Ren/Knight's fiancee Eri Ogawa and Kitaoka/Zolda also don't have much time left with their respective illness.
    • The Orphnochs in Kamen Rider Faiz are doomed to short lives, including the main character. The only method of fixing this involves permanently losing their humanity, and the series ends with the implication that Faiz, who refuses to give up his, dies the moment the camera stops rolling. How much this death sticks when it's time for a Crisis Crossover, however, varies substantially.
    • Akira Date in Kamen Rider OOO has limited time to live due to a bullet lodged in his brain, although he eventually recovers after leaving to have surgery.
    • The entire premise of Kamen Rider Ghost is that the main character dies in the first episode, turns into a ghost with superpowers, and has 99 days to find a way to come back to life before he disappears.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O brings this up as a consequence of Geiz gaining his Super Mode, Geiz Revive, which history says he's supposed to use to kill Zi-O and then die from the strain. When he defies fate and decides not to kill Zi-O, however, this leads him to actually master the powerup and avoid dying from it.
    • Kamen Rider Revice has this as one of the potential consequences of a Deal with the Devil, and in particular the first Kamen Rider Demons ends up with only a few days to live after feeding most of his lifeforce to his Artifact of Death. Fortunately, this doesn't actually end up killing him; unfortunately, it's because the second person to take the mantle of Demons kills him first.
  • Charlie and Locke from Lost both get in this situation, albeit differently. Charlie nearly all of Season 3 with the knowledge that he's doomed due to Desmond's prophetic visions, while John Locke is explicitly told by Richard that he's going to have to die (which we already knew he was dead, as of the end of season 4, which is one of the mysteries of season 5. Locke is resurrected. Except he isn't.
  • Mahou Sentai Magiranger had the Hades Beast Skeleton who would curse its victims to vanish after one week. Later, after Big Bad N Ma fully revives, we are told that there would only be three days left before he wiped out all life in existence.
  • Midsomer Murders has an episode named Second Sight involving people with, well, second sight. One of them is firmly established to genuinely have it (consistently and repeatedly knowing things he should not have been able to know in advance), and turns out to have turned into a recluse by looking as far ahead as he could. While he didn't get the exact date he did get a lot of details about the circumstances around that as far ahead — almost being run over by someone looking like Barnaby a few days prior, a terrible storm, lying in the door to the church, etc — which makes him understandably rather shaken when he almost gets run over by Barnaby. Though ultimately it turns out he got one crucial detail wrong. Everything happened exactly as he'd foreseen up to and including lying in the front door to the church... only he wasn't dead, just knocked out. He didn't even lose his predictive powers after it.
  • Mouse (2021): The Brain Transplant is slowly killing Ba-reum. He dies in prison after finally making amends for his crimes.
  • In the NCIS episode "Dead Man Walking," Ziva becomes very close to Lt. Roy Sanders while he is dying of radiation poisoning, causing her and Jenny considerable distress.
  • In Nine: Nine Time Travels, a Korean Drama, Sun-woo has a limited amount of time to defeat the man who killed his father and ruined his family, because Sun-woo has brain cancer and about six months left to live. Luckily, he has some magic incense sticks that allow him to travel through time.
  • Nirvana in Fire: Mei Changsu is driven to avenge his family and put Jingyan on the throne as quickly as possible because he's slowly dying of poison.
  • Once Upon a Time features the Evil Queen crashing Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding to announce that she was going to cast a curse that would take away everything they loved and send them all someplace horrible. The time frame between her making this threat and actually completing the curse is several months — at least nine, as Snow conceived and gave birth to Emma in time to send her out of reach of the curse before it hit.
  • 1 Liter of Tears has the protagonist Aya dying of Spino Cerebellar Ataxia.
  • The Prime Minister and I: Da-jung's father has both Alzheimer's and cancer, and is slated to die in six months.
  • Princess Silver: Rong Qi was poisoned, and as a result, he can't live past the age of twenty-four.
  • Sledge Hammer! goes through this when as the result of mistaken identity, he is dosed with a poison that will kill him in twenty-four hours. Naturally he finds the antidote at the last second, but Trunk and the rest are convinced this is it for him.
  • Joked with in the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Warrior":
  • In Star Trek: Picard, Picard learns that the brain defect detected in Star Trek: The Next Generation's Grand Finale has advanced enough that he'll pass on very soon. He's able to complete his mission of saving a colony of synthoids from the Romulans before his body fails him, but his mind is transferred to a synthoid body and allowed to live on for a little while longer.
  • Supernatural
    • Dean sold his soul to a demon in exchange for Sam returning to life and was given only one year until the contract came up and he died. He subsequently spends the entirety of Season 3 either trying to get out of the deal, trying to cope with the inevitable, or coming to terms with the fact that he doesn't want to die or go to Hell. Thanks to the Writer's Strike not allowing for the planned story, the show shocked viewers by having him die and go to Hell in the Season Finale.
    • In the show's universe, a normal term for a Deal with the Devil is ten years before you die. Despite this and the usual price of torture in hell, there are still plenty of people making such deals for things like artistic talent, career success, and massive wealth.
  • In This Is Us: Upon meeting his biological father William, Randall finds out that he has advanced stomach cancer and they will only have a few months to get to know each other. William dies at the end of season 1 while the two take a trip to his hometown.
  • 12 Monkeys: In the Season 4 premiere, Jones is exposed to a fatal dose of radiation from Project Splinter's power core. Over the course of the rest of the season, her nervous system steadily starts failing, until by the Grand Finale she can't even stand without assistance, and it's clear that she's only still going due to sheer determination to not die until the mission to stop the Army of the 12 Monkeys is completed. Shortly after the Final Battle is won by the heroes, she quietly dies with a smile.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Still Valley", Teague can sense that he is going to die when The Sun goes down and gives his book of black magic to Sgt. Joseph Paradine to use against the Union.
  • Wonder Woman: In "Time Bomb", Diana meets a time traveler from the future named Adam Clement who casually reveals that a nuclear war occurs in 2007. The fact that Wonder Woman now has 30 years to save the world from nuclear annihilation or she'll face a Crapsack World is never addressed.
  • Word of Honor: Zhou Zishu has six nails implanted into his body, and has three years to live as they slowly destroy his physical and mental health.
  • Earth, and everyone on it, has just 34 days left in You, Me and the Apocalypse due to an imminent comet collision.

  • 24 by Jem is about a woman who is given twenty-four hours to live, though it's unspecified if it's of natural causes or if someone is out to kill her. It counts down throughout the song until one hour before her death.
  • The Bee Gees' "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" was about a man on Death Row.
    I've just got to get a message to you, hold on, hold on.
  • The Patient in The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. This is particularly apparent in "Dead!", "Cancer", and "Sleep".
  • Crash Test Dummies:
    • "I'm still young but I know my days are numbered" is the opening line to "At My Funeral"
    • The entire album "Songs For The Unforgiven" seems to be Brad's fear of this trope.
  • The Johnny Cash song "25 Minutes to Go" narrates the last 25 minutes of a man's life before he's hanged.
  • The Wham Line in "Terrible Things" by Mayday Parade has the singer's currently deceased wife telling him about her illness.
    She said, "Boy, can I tell you a terrible thing?"
  • The creators of South Park included a cheery little ditty called "Dead Dead Dead" in their Christmas album.
    "The minute you're born you start dying,

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Trope Namer is the Book of Daniel, in a sequence that gives us three common phrases. "The Writing On The Wall" appears to Belshazzar, the last Babylonian king, specifically the words: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is simply a list of weights and measures, but is translated as a metaphor: "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting, Your Days Are Numbered, and your kingdom shall be divided by the Medes and the Persians". Belshazzar is slain later that night by the Persian armies that promptly make Babylon part of their empire.
    • The Bible also makes mention of how short and insignificant human life is in comparison to the rest of the universe. Your measly life of 80 odd years, maybe a hundred if you are lucky? It is likened onto a vapor or smoke, one moment it is there and the next it is gone as it is swept away by the wind. God who has existed since the beginning of the creation of the universe sees all of your lives, all of your struggles, and all of your triumphs as if they were blinks of his all-seeing eyes, they end in mere moments. The message is clear, it is humbling that an immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing God cares enough about you that he intervenes in our lives and how important it is that we take advantage of the days that are given to us.

  • In a series one episode of The Ricky Gervais Show Karl discusses the invention of a watch that counts down how many days a person has left to live. When it reaches day three, it tells the wearer to visit a doctor.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: player characters turned into Revenants have this stipulation attached — once you complete a set goal, the character dies and for the most part cannot be revived.
  • GURPS: The Terminal Illness disadvantage, which represents anything that leaves a character's death inevitable — Cancer, a Curse, and a bomb inside one's skull are all given as examples. The default assumption is that there's nothing you can do, so gaining a miracle cure results in a whole bunch of points you need to pay back.
  • Magic: The Gathering: One race that exists in the Solar Punk plane of Kaladesh is the aetherborn. Unlike all other sentient beings on the plane, they have extremely short lifespan, as well as the ability to tell exactly when they will expire. This nature turns them into The Hedonist; after all, they know their life is short, might as well have fun and enjoy every second of it.
  • This trope defines the "Doomed" playbook in the Powered by the Apocalypse game Masks. Fulfilling certain story requirements or using certain powers advances your Doom track, which can be used to pick up even more Doom-related powers... until you run out of options, at which point the final option is "Your doom arrives; confront it and perish."
  • If a character in Rocket Age has the Striken trait they have a terminal illness and will die sometime in the next few months or years. Rules-wise this gives them extra story points but prevents them from using them to prevent their death.

  • RENT's "One Song Glory" is one of the most heartbreaking portrayals of this.
  • A 2010 Berlin performance of Bertolt Brecht's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny toys with this. In the original play, two characters die from sheer decadence: one by overeating and one by losing a boxing match. In the 2010 performance, the stage directions were projected onto a screen and often ignored or even protested by the characters, following Brecht's philosophy of "Verfremdung". So when Jacob sees that the stage directions say he has to die, he first starts protesting, then laughing, then whimpering, then falls over helplessly and stays there for the rest of the act while other characters are swimming in money around his corpse. He's joined by the boxer character (Joe) soon after. The performance is... unsettling.
  • The main plot of the 1960 play Send Me No Flowers (adapted into a Rock Hudson/Doris Day film four years later) is about a hypochondriac man who overhears his doctor on the phone and ends up believing that he has days to weeks to live. Hilarity Ensues as he then starts preparing for his death, even trying to set his wife up with another man so that she will be cared for when he's gone.
  • Tsukiuta's second stage play Yumemigusa features an alternate scenario in which Arata (in the Sakura version) or You (in the Moon version) is dying of Incurable Cough of Death, as that world's version of Okita Souji. Arata's reaction is more peaceful - as the representative of sakura season, he has accepted his fate, seeing death as more mysterious than scary. It is his childhood friend, Aoi, who cannot accept it. You, on the other hand, react with anger, as the representative of the hot August sun, and he is the one who kicks off the plot, instead of his partner Yoru.

    Video Games 
  • Armello: The Rot-infested King has nine days to live. You, and the other Heroes, are gunning for the throne by either having the most Prestige when the King finally keels over and dies or cutting that number down with a blade.
  • Baldur's Gate III starts off with your character (and your companions) getting implanted with illithid tadpoles, which will, unless you can get it out before then (something liable to require fairly powerful magic), transform you into an illithid within a week, effectively killing you so hard only a Wish could bring you back. It turns out that something is keeping the Ceremorphosis at bay, but since none of you have the faintest idea of what that might be, you still have to live under the fear that at any time it could fail and allow the transformation to occur.
  • In BlazBlue, Litchi Faye-Ling found out that she only has moments until her Boundary corruption overwhelms her and will turn her into another Arakune. Since the only one whom she knows has the cure refuses to hand it over for her, she is Forced into Evil in order to attain the cure quick enough before it consumes her.
    • In the 3rd game, the price Hakumen pays for using Time Killer to kill Terumi is effectively damning himself to this unless he somehow recovers the majority of himself that's still in the Boundary. Even Rachel observing him is no longer enough to ensure his survival. The Chronophantasma of Celica is also on borrowed time due to her artificial body constantly being damaged by her innate abilities which she can't turn off; Kokonoe reckons she has a month left, six if she's lucky.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter uses this as a game mechanic. Your character embarks on a quest to make it to the surface - if it even exists - before his dragon counter reaches 100%. Once that happens, the dragon inhabiting him will take over and he will die. As you play through the game, the very act of walking will raise the counter by .01% every few seconds (and running will raise it faster than that.) Using various attacks in battle raise it up further and faster. If you don't play the game smart, you won't be able to finish it. At least, on your first try.
  • Various games and other services that need the Internet usually require some form of a "Master Server", which in the case of online videogames allows users to see other multiplayer servers and connect to them. The cost of operating a master server means they are usually shut down a few years after a game phases out of popularity; when the server goes down, it either becomes impossible (such as in an MMORPG) or difficult and convoluted to join a game. Gamespy, whose software and hardware powered literally hundreds of games' multiplayer announced a total service shutdown on May 31, 2014, leading to thousands of users playing their games online for one last time. Various workarounds were later made for some games (i.e. MechWarrior Living Legends and by extension Crysis) to re-enable multiplayer, and some games (i.e. Battlezone II had official patches to switch to a different master server.
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, after V obtains a brain implant with the Virtual Ghost of Johnny Silverhand, it's revealed that it's overwriting their consciousness with his and slowly killing them, more or less. The plot revolves around the two trying to find a way to avoid this. In the end, it's revealed that so much damage has been done to V's nervous system and DNA that they have about six months to live. Depending on the ending, you have the choice to either live out what little time you have left as yourself, or allow Johnny to live on in your body with a full lifespan.
  • Dead Rising gives you 20 hours before you turn into a zombie after the initial 72 hours of the storymode pass by.
    • Dead Rising 2 gives you 20 hours before Fortune City is bombed to oblivion after the military's failed attempt to contain the zombie infection.
    • Dead Rising 3 gives you one week before Los Perdidos is fire-bombed to contain the zombie outbreak.
  • Devil Survivor: One of the functions of the COMP is an uplink to the Laplace system, showing the COMP owners a 'Death Clock' above the heads of people that have less than 10 days left to live. Everyone stuck inside the Yamanote Lockdown has 7 days left, at most. But reading the Laplace Mail gives the player a chance to avert the death by using the knowledge of the mail's prediction, and working to prevent the prediction.
  • Divinity: Original Sin: Jahan's Deal with the Devil grants him 1000 years of life, after which he dies and forfeits his soul. Subverted with the reveal that the demon made him The Ageless and plans to kill him personally when his time is up; killing it lets him live on indefinitely.
  • In Dragon Age, becoming Grey Warden leaves someone with roughly 30 years left to live due to the Darkspawn Taint running through their veins. When an older Warden senses their time is drawing near, they embark on their Calling, descending into the Darkspawn-filled Deep Roads to go out in a blaze of glory against the horde.
    • However, it's later revealed that the Grey Wardens are merely high-functioning ghouls, possessing the enhanced strength and stamina of the Darkspawn with a connection to their Hive Mind, but nonetheless keeping their own free-will left intact. The Calling itself is simply a ritual created by the senior Wardens so they can die as themselves before the Taint turns them into normal ghouls, who are little more than thralls to the horde.
    • In Origins' Warden Keep DLC, Avernus, a blood mage Warden, has been experimenting with the Taint and apparently found a way to not only prevent himself from becoming a Ghoul but to extend his life for centuries. This suggests that it is possible to circumvent this trope with all Grey Wardens.
  • One of the eponymous dragonslayers in Dragon Valor is cursed by a dragon halfling to die in a month, unless she finds and bests him in combat.
  • Polka in Eternal Sonata. At least she, like all terminal patients, gains incredible magic powers as a trade-off for having her life cut short.
  • From the Fatal Frame series: This is the fate that has befallen Miku. After the events of I, she feels guilty about leaving his brother behind even though said brother decided to do so of his own volition. The guilt caused her to become cursed in III and, when she sees his spirit, she runs after him to rejoin him, resulting in her giving birth to a daughter, which drastically shortens her lifespan. Depending on which ending the player gets in V, she's either alive but still dying or Dead All Along.
  • In Fate/EXTRA CCC, in the Gilgamesh route, the protagonist is forced to surrender all three Command Seals in order to contract Gilgamesh as their Servant when they get kidnapped to the Far Side of the Moon. This means that, even if they do manage to escape the Far Side and get back to the Holy Grail War on the Near Side, they will be immediately deleted by the Moon Cell since having no Command Seals means they cannot have a Servant, and Gilgamesh himself is too broken to be allowed in the Holy Grail War. Gilgamesh repeatedly brings this up, asking why the protagonist fights so hard to get back when they know that death is all that awaits them should they succeed. In the end, Gilgamesh has grown too fond of the protagonist to let them die, and sacrifices 90% of his treasury in order to give the Moon Cell's rules the metaphorical finger and steal the protagonist away to a distant world where they can continue adventuring.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • Mash Kyrielight endured several experiments on her body as a child in order to allow her to be the vessel for a Servant, but these modifications leave her with only a few years left to live. Eventually, Fou sacrifices his power and sentience to rebuild her body and give her a normal lifespan.
    • Mysterious Heroine XX rebuilds Okita Souji as a cyborg when she is injured, but according to the manual for her new parts, Okita only has 72 hours to live. This leads Okita to go on a quest to seek a Holy Grail to use it to extend her lifespan. In the end, she fails, but she doesn't die. An embarrassed Mysterious Heroine XX reveals that she read the manual wrong and Okita actually has 7,200,000 hours to live, which translates to 800 years.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VII Remake have SOLDIER to this. Their vastly shortened lifespans are common knowledge to SOLDIERs, and Cloud's no exception. He never brings it up until President Shinra does and it doesn't seem to bother him much. But while Cloud himself might not care, Cloud dying DOES bother Sephiroth.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, it is heavily implied that the Black Mage golems have a set expiration date. As does Kuja.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII the L'Cie brands come with this. Once branded, an L'Cie only has a certain amount of time to complete their given focus before they turn into a Cei'th corpse (starting out as a shambling zombie-type monster, before turning into a stationary stone forced to relive their failed focus, forever). The time they have left can be tracked by the "eye" in the center of their brand, which opens as the mark advances when it opens all the way, you turn Cei'th, this drives the party for the better part of the game. It's ultimately revealed to be averted with the main characters, the Fal'cie manipulating the L'cie heroes halt their marks after a certain point because he needs them to fulfill his Evil Plan, and wants them to have all the time they need to get strong enough to do so. And at the end of the game, they have the limit revoked completely when they succeed in their focus yet don't stay in crystal stasis, gaining "ruined" brands with no eye, much like Fang.
      • And in the sequel Final Fantasy XIII-2, Noel knows that when a seeress sees a change to the timeline, it shortens her lifespan. and then he realises that Serah is seeing the same visions. She eventually decides that saving the future is worth her life
    • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII does this for the entire world, much like Majora's Mask, though her actions do extend the time limit up to a certain point.
  • Lysithea von Ordelia from Fire Emblem: Three Houses suffers from a greatly reduced lifespan due to a traumatic childhood event - being a guinea pig for "those who slither in the dark" and their experiments to find a vessel capable of bearing two Crests. They outright say in their A-support they have no more than five years of life left, leaving them to die in their mid-twenties. However, in some of her paired endings, her partner finds a way to remove her Crests and let her live a normal, full life.
  • A game mechanic in Golden Sun: the Curse spell causes a small number of flames to appear next to the afflicted character's head, going down by one every turn. When they run out, the character is KO'ed (it can be dispelled by a restoration spell, and only lasts until the end of that battle).
  • After Guilty Gear X, Millia kills Zato-1, but this allows Eddie, the parasite that gave Zato-1 his powers, to fully control his body. However, as Zato's body is dead, it's decaying — and when it becomes unusable, Eddie will die. Thus he spends subsequent games hunting for a new host. Zato-1 is resurrected in Xrd, which saves Eddie... but pisses him off, because that means he's stuck being a tool again.
  • In Heavy Rain, this happens if you decide to drink the poison for the fifth trial. As far as you know.
  • The plot of Hero Must Die begins with the protagonist dying after defeating the Big Bad. Thankfully for him, an angel brings him back to life, but only for five days.
  • According to Baron Praxis in Jak II: Renegade, Jak's Dark Eco powers will eventually kill him. Jak doesn't care, because his main objective at that stage in his life is to hurl Praxis' regime to the ground, with Praxis himself preferably on fire. Despite this, he doesn't actually die in the end, because a Precursor is kind enough to counterbalance the Dark Eco effects somehow.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask ominously warns you that "72 hours remain", counting down after each in-game day. The entire world of Termina is doomed to be destroyed by the falling Moon unless Link can free the four giants to stop it. If Link fails, he is sent back to the first day to try again.
  • Reinforce Eins and the Lieze twins in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny are doomed to die in the near future and they know it. In both cases, they've accepted their fates and are trying to make the best of their remaining lives, atoning for past sins and preparing the next generation to ensure that the future is still in good hands.
  • Overlord Zetta of Makai Kingdom falls under The One's curse and is doomed to die in 3 days. It wasn't really The One, just a random walking Corn guy.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis has a textbook example with Jessica, without the angsting part. At least until a Faking the Dead scene orchestrated by her friends showed her the truth. One of the few, serious moments during the game's side quests.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Drell Assassin Thane Krios is dying from a disease, which he makes clear to Shepard. He's trying to spend his last days making the world a better place and in his personal mission attempting to save his son from following his footsteps.
    • When the third game (which takes place half a year after the second) actually rolls around, he claims that he was given three months to live... nine months ago. In the game, he can, in fact, die, but from Kai Leng's sword through the chest, not from his disease.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, Snake is unknowingly injected with an artificial virus called FOXDIE designed to kill specific targets (including himself as he shares the genetic code of one of its target, Liquid), and finds out towards the end of the game that he has an unknown amount of time left to live. He decides to make the most of whatever time he has left.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Liquid points out that Snake's days were always numbered anyway due to him being cloned from Big Boss while the latter was in his fifties (this is later revealed to be a lie).
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Snake finds out that, due to accelerated aging programmed into his genes from birth, he's got around 6 months left to live. Worse yet, the FOXDIE virus he was injected with at Shadow Moses, 9 years earlier, has started to mutate and will turn him into a walking, pandemic bio-weapon within 'bout 3 months. Good motivation for One Last Job, huh? And no pesky worrying about an exit strategy..
      • Considering what Snake has lived through by the end of the game, including the absolutely soul-wrenching microwave corridor, old age is really the only thing that will stop him. That's debatable, since, according to a very skilled doctor, he should be dead before the game even begins. So his days might be numbered, but that number passed a while ago, and he's still going.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, all four bounty hunters' bodies start producing phazon. Phazon is highly toxic. Eventually, Samus has to kill the other three bounty hunters, who had been corrupted by phazon. The only reason Samus doesn't get corrupted is that she destroys a load-bearing-boss on Phaaze, the source of all phazon, destroying the planet, which causes phazon to cease to exist. It makes sense in context.
  • In Might and Magic X, Crag Hack suffers from a curse that will gradually fade him away until he is gone not just from the world but from memory and recorded history. The quest to find a cure reveals that there's no magic (or at least none known) that can undo the curse, but there is one way to break it — dying from something else before the curse kills them. Crag Hack consequently at the end of the game commits a Heroic Sacrifice so awesome he is still a legend centuries later.
  • Persona 3
    • Given that the words Memento Mori — remember that you are mortal/that you will die — are considered the game's Arc Words, it's no surprise that the game treats this as one of the main themes of the game.
    • The Sun Arcana character Akanari is doomed to die from a genetic disease. His Social Link revolves around him using the player character and a short story he's writing to come to terms with it. His final event involves him giving the player character the notebook the short story is written in. The post-script ending proves that Akanari died the day he handed his notebook over, and his mother comes to visit the player character on what her son's 20th birthday would have been.
    • Chidori admits to having known when death will come for a long time. She ends up sacrificing her life to save Junpei, who was fatally shot by Takaya. In FES, there was an option to revive the character.
    • The members of Strega know their lifespan has been shortened because they are products and sole survivors of an experiment to artificially induce the Persona ability in humans. Since they know that their days are marked, they live like their life will be over any second. It's also what prompts them to oppose SEES and ultimately become Straw Nihilists when the true nature of The Fall comes to light.
    • Shinjiro Aragaki also knows about their shortened lifespan, since the Persona suppressants they are taking are having an adverse effect. They intended to spend their last day giving Ken Amada, whose mother Shinjiro's out-of-control Persona killed two years ago, the chance to take his revenge and kill him. But Shinjiro ultimately takes a bullet intended for Ken. Playing as the female protagonist in the PSP version gave the player a chance to avert this death and have the character only in a coma, if the player knew the conditions for it.
    • The final act of the game puts all of humanity onto counted days because Nyx will appear at the end of January and bring about The Fall.
    • The player character lives on borrowed time between the defeat of Nyx and the end of the game. The only reason they are still around is due to sheer willpower.
  • The plot of Pharaoh Rebirth starts when the protagonist is cursed by a pharaoh to die in seven days. The solution? Find some artifacts that grant immortality.
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future reveals a heartbreaking twist at the end; that Claire, who was transported into the future by the experimental time machine, will very soon be whisked away back to milliseconds before the explosion that was thought to have killed her, and there's nothing anyone can do, lest they potentially cause a time paradox. Unfortunately, Dimitri tries to save her, kidnapping scientists to work on a time machine.
  • The protagonist in The Watchmaker is trying to repair a clocktower controlling the flow of time, unfortunately one of the side effects of the malfunction is that things are aging rapidly meaning he's got minutes before he dies of old age, fortunately, there are devices in the tower that allow him to delay his death.
  • RealityMinds: Anyone who learns too much about essences is slated to die in a few years through an illness created by Ridgefern, which explains how Refita died so young. This includes the protagonists, but after they defeat Ridgefern in the epilogue, he removes essences from the world and the illness that comes with it.
  • In Red Dead Redemption II, protagonist Arthur Morgan survives countless gunfights and near-death experiences, in addition to unforgiving weather... Only to be killed by tuberculosis, a disease which, at the time this game is set in, was a death sentence. Even worse, he contracted it because of his own impatience in dealing with a sick debtor, who coughed all over Arthur after getting beaten up. His death is slow, painful, and completely unavoidable, but he makes damn well sure whatever time he has left isn't for nothing.
  • Ukyo Tachibana from Samurai Shodown suffers from tuberculosis, a disease that — in feudal Japan — was a death sentence. His ending in Samurai Shodown 64-II has him dying after giving the only cure for his illness to another victim of tuberculosis.
  • Takenaka Hanbe from Sengoku Basara suffers from tuberculosis, which in those days had no cure. He decides to make the most of his time left by doing everything in his power to make his master Hideyoshi ruler of Japan. He dies shortly before the events of the third game.
  • In The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 elders don't die immediately when their life bar fills up, but they will usually die within a few days. In The Sims 4 this is indicated with a "bubbly" effect on the life bar and several warning messages before the sim dies. In The Sims 3 the player will get a message warning them when a friend of the active household reaches this point.
  • At the end of Super Robot Wars Destiny, provided you recruit them, you find out that ex-Ruina generals Glacies and Ventus only have 3 years to live once everything is over. What happens to them is left ambiguous, but you get the hint that they're gonna make the best out of it. When Destiny is included in Original Generations, the Destiny protagonists Joshua and Rim are trying to find out a way to extend Glacies' lifespan, and possibly Ventus' as well ('possibly' because he threw himself into the Crossgate to seal Perfectio forever so the days question might be moot inside).
    • Also in OG, as per her origin, Ariel Org of Real Robot Regiment only has moments to live as a result of being a product of the Idealant Project. Like Glacies/Ventus, in the original game, she decided to live the rest of her life by making the best out of it, and in OG fellow Artificial Human Lamia Loveless is helping to find a way to remove that problem by reverse-engineering herself. Also, this trope is the reason why Ariel's 'rival/brother' Duvan Org becomes very power-hungry and instead tried to achieve godlike power.
  • Tales Series
    • Tales of Symphonia: Colette knows that successfully completing the Journey of Regeneration requires her to ultimately sacrifice her own life.
    • Tales of the Abyss
      • The final third of the game reveals that Luke performing the great sacrifice at the Tower of Rem has destroyed his core structure and his fonons are separating. Meaning that he's slowly disintergrating.
      • There's an odd occurrence when it comes to Asch. Going by the character's behavior and some dialogue, it's implied they are on borrowed time as well. But going through the Contamination Effect sidequest, there's also dialogue implying that Asch wasn't actually close to dying, but had merely misunderstood when Spinoza explained things in a very technical, scientific way. Given the nature of the game and that of the ending, the ambiguity is likely intended.
    • Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2
      • This occurs to Kanonno Earheart around the mid-point of the game. Due to their nature of being the human reincarnation of Pasca Kanonno, a Descender, they require a large surge of mana to keep existing. The character remains bed-ridden and unplayable for part of the game until the plot event occurs where they can be saved.
      • This could apply to all Descenders in the Radiant Mythology series, since their only purpose is to be awoken when the world is in danger. Once the world is saved, they have to return and be assimilated with the World Tree again.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 animation "Expiration Date" it's revealed that the teleporters used by the teams cause tumors to form in whatever goes through them, with the Medic's calculations estimating that they all have three days to live. However, it's subverted when it's revealed that the "tumors" were some kind of bizarre life form that can only form in an environment of pure wheat.
  • Tsukimi Planet has Utarou learning that he has a short amount of time left to live. Tsukimi is there to offer him any wish he wanted, including giving him more time.
  • Lau Chan of the Virtua Fighter series has a rare illness that will eventually kill him. Still, he keeps entering fighting tournaments in search of a successor to his fighting style.
  • In The Walking Dead: Season One, Lee gets bitten at the end of Episode 4. The final episode is titled No Time Left. He succumbs to the infection at the end of said episode, and is either shot by Clementine of left to turn.
  • In Wasteland 3, it's revealed that The Patriarch was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease with an estimate that he'll be dead within three years.
  • Raquel Applegate from Wild ARMs 4 is said to be suffering from a terminal illness throughout the game (and, indeed, dies in the ending). She's still a massively strong fighter in spite of this fact.
  • Metallia from The Witch and the Hundred Knight only has 100 days left to live.
  • The World Ends with You. One of the main premises of the game is that, well, the character themselves are in a game of sorts. The game lasts for a total of one week, and every day, each "Player" gets a text message with a mission for the day, after which a timer immediately (and painfully) appears on their hand. If none of the Players finish the mission before the timer runs out, the Game Master for the week officially wins, and all of the players are "Erased". However, it only takes a single pair of players (they all come in pairs, as part of the First Day's mission is to find a partner) to win for everyone to get a pass for the day. It's not always you.
  • This happens to Fiora in Xenoblade Chronicles after Meyneth is killed by Zanza. Since Meyneth served as Fiora's life force after she became a Mechon, her death causes Fiora's body to slowly shut down, meaning she could die at any moment. Thankfully the ending averts this trope, where she's turned back into a human.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa:
  • Near the beginning of Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~ it is revealed that Claudia has at most one month left to live and is dying from skin cancer. She treats it as a non-issue and just goes about her life as usual best she can. Wilhelm on the other hand decides to try and make the best use of that time in order to make her soul as radiant as he can so that he can kill her during that peak and claim it for his own. Things end up not working out for him as Caudia ends up having to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to save him from her own out-of-control Creation Figment.
  • This is the cause of Shuichi Kuze's angst in ef - a fairy tale of the two.; he has a rare heart disease that no one knows how to treat.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • The Servants. Their reason to materialize in the human plane is solely to participate in the Holy Grail Wars; after that, they effectively 'die'. By a matter of fact, they are summoned specifically to die, their energy of a heroic spirit is needed to fuel the Holy Grail. Though various means exist for a Servant to cheat "death" and remain after the war's end; Gilgamesh did so after the previous war, and it's possible for Saber and Rider to survive in the Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel routes respectively.
    • Shirou and Sakura also fall into this in the Heaven's Feel Route. According to Kotomine, Shirou has 10 years to become an adept mage if he is to prevent Losing his life from overloading his magic circuits courtesy of Archer's left arm. And that's assuming he doesn't take off the Shroud of Martin and attempt to use Unlimited Blade Works. He does. Thrice. Sakura is in no less trouble as Matou Zouken turns out to have implanted a crest worm into her, which threatens to consume her vitality, and only the Holy Grail has any chance of saving her...well, up until her Superpowered Evil Side comes out, rips that crest worm out of her heart, and crushes it to pieces as the wound seals up without a trace. Zouken didn't see that one coming, to put it mildly.
    • It is revealed Illya has a shortened lifespan due to being a homunculus that was designed to be a sacrifice for the war. Even if she survives the war, she'll only last a few years.
  • Rika from Higurashi: When They Cry recognizes that she and everyone else in the town will be dead within a month. She frequently tries to hint at this to others however it comes off as creepily ominous. Rika has been stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop for at least a century where she relives the last month of her life continuously. She is unable to break the loop until the end of the series.
  • In Kanon, the foxes on the hill overlooking the town can use a miracle to become human, but they must give up their memories and their life to do so, meaning they won't live very long after their miracle occurs, so they have to live their remaining life to the fullest while they can. This explains the whole deal with Makoto Sawatari... she is one of these foxes.
  • At the start of Katawa Shoujo, hero Hisao has a heart attack and is diagnosed with a serious, potentially fatal heart condition. A big part of the Visual Novel's plot deals with him coming to terms with the fact that he could die any moment (though his condition isn't untreatable).
  • The plot of Shall We Date?: Angel or Devil focuses on the protagonist having one week left to live. Her fate will depend on her selected lover.
  • In Your Turn to Die, Shin Tsukimi's First Trial is them learning how likely each participant is to win the death game, their percentages having been meticulously calculated through hundreds of AI tests. And sitting below even Death Seekers and pre-teens is them with a flat 0.0%, displaying that they are guaranteed to die no matter what. They do not take it well, and assume the identity of Sou Hiyori in an attempt to avoid fate.

  • Parodied in Adventurers!; right before the Final Boss fight, Khrima is told this by Karn, and responds in an appropriately epic/goofy manner:
    Khrima: More like... numbered to infinity! For my number will continue to increment! The only number of consequence is your chance of beating me! And that's ZERO!
  • In AntiBunny this is the entire premise of Nailbat's story. The protagonist accidentally etches the Grim Reaper's scroll-phone data into his head, allowing him to rewrite the fate of anyone else, but absolutely fated to keep his maximum remaining lifespan of one year no matter what he does. Thing is, as long as he doesn't intentionally lower his lifespan, supernatural luck will prevent him from dying before fate demands it. So what to do with one year of immortality and the power to Screw Destiny otherwise? Become a superhero of course.
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe has this happen to the protagonist in the second half as he catches an incurable disease and begins slowly dying.
  • Rosof Tions Sarhgress as a Drow in the Drowtales universe, should for all intents and purposes be able to live well into his 900's, but his years living outside of drow society have caused him to do something a drow normally never does, age. Now he is very slowly dying of old age, well drow older than him are both younger-looking and much healthier.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Ellen is first created she and Elliot come to the (false) conclusion that she'll die in less than a month.
  • In Grim Tales from Down Below, Grim is revealed to have been adding sand to Mandy's life-hourglass in order to extend her life. It eventually runs out, but because Grim still refuses to reap her, it effectively renders Mandy immortal, with the immortality becoming official after she accepts Grim's proposal. On the other hand, Billy's own life-hourglass looks like someone hiccuped while blowing the glass. Lots of times. And there's sand everywhere in it.
  • From Knite, we have a terminally ill Min-Min and, going by what her brother said, she doesn't have very much time, which hammers home of exactly how severe her illness and the pollution that caused it is.
  • The main character of No Future, Andrew, has twenty-three years to live before Death inevitably kills him, as, despite time being turned back, death is impossible to reverse.
  • Oglaf: Exploited for laughs in "Forewarned" by a "death planner", who offers personalized death scenarios for people fated to die on a specific date.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf in The Order of the Stick. The Oracle mentions that he "should savour his next birthday cake", along with several other less than subtle hints, surprisingly early on, but everyone forgets it due to the spell ensuring they only remember the predictions they paid for. The Oracle later gives Roy's ghost an official prediction (carefully worded to avoid Prophecy Twist, not that this stops fans who don't want to accept the Belkster's impending demise from trying) that he will "take his last breath - ever - before the end of the year", of which there are less than seven weeks left. There's no way of knowing how many strips that means, however.
  • In Prophecy of the Circle, the tikedi Jahrd and his father Jacind may have a genetic mortal disease called "desert drowning".
  • In Sandra and Woo, we've known for years Larissa has A) psychological issues for which she takes medication, B) diabetes. In strip #718, we learn she has an underlying condition that caused both: Wolfram Syndrome — a disease for which the oldest known sufferer lived to 49 and the median lifespan is 28.
  • A non-fatal example in Sleepless Domain: regardless of when a magical girl's powers awaken, they usually lose their powers in their late teens, so many try to make the most of it before then. There's three known cases when someone lost their powers prematurely: Tessa burns out her power to heal Undine and loses her powers (which she isn't adjusting to well at all), Kokoro's mother Mitsuki lost her powers when they somehow transferred to Kokoro while she was in the womb (which, considering she was warned was a possibility and chose to carry Kokoro to term anyway, she seems to have accepted) and Mingxing burned out her powers after using her Super Speed to get a nearly frozen Kokoro to the hospital, despite being severely weakened from losing her arm (which she deemed Worth It).
  • Marilyn Seong, AKA Mecha Maid from Spinnerette suffers from ALS and has maybe a year or two left.
  • Unsounded: The Platinum caste die of old age at 30. Mathis Quigley is 25 and has no qualms about becoming a Punch-Clock Villain to earn enough for his young son to be secure without him.

    Web Original 
  • In Critical Role, Vax'ildan only lives a few more days after his death by Vecna's hand causes him to make a pact with his deity the Raven Queen, turning him into a Revenant until they manage to defeat the archlich. Despite a Hope Spot in the first half of the campaign's finale, this does come to pass.
  • In the Enthalpy episode "Robot Pilot; Or, McDarnold's La Verite", Charles is told that he will die in three hours because he ate a rotten burger. Charles uses his time to try and exact revenge on the restaurant he bought the burger from. Played for Laughs, in this case.
  • The Green Wanderer reveals that Marrox has been suffering from an illness that will kill him in a matter of weeks.
  • In the KateModern episode "The Confession", Griffin reveals that he injected fifteen girls with a serum that has had the side effect of slowly killing their immune systems, meaning that they will die in a few months time. Charlie, Kate, Julia, Steve and Terry attempt to track them down, but all are either missing or dead by the time they reach them, with one exception, Lauren. Following the events of "Precious Blood", Lauren is currently being kept alive only by taking a variety of pills daily for the rest of her life, as revealed in "The Drugs Do Work".
  • The Kindness of Devils:
    • Nights In Lonesome Arkham has Erin getting possessed by Yog-Sothoth, which means the entity's powers will end up killing her in the span of a few weeks. Although its powers put her in a coma, she ends up surviving.
    • A Conspiracy of Serpents has Hardestadt getting poisoned by Apophis during a swordfight with him, which gradually starts to drain his life. Like Erin, he manages to recover from it by the end after defeating him.
    • Loves Lost And Found has Ceoladh, or "The Little Mermaid" within the story. Thanks to her pact with the Sea Witch, her life is cut short, and she ends up dying earlier than intended.
  • Red Panda Adventures: One of the driving questions surrounding Mr. Amazing is why he was rejected for assignment for both the European warfront and the home front-based Danger Federation. As a Captain Ersatz of Superman, he's more than powerful enough and very willing, too. The Red Panda initially thinks it's his Smug Super attitude, but that came about precisely because of those rejections and he mellows considerably after A Lesson in Defeat. The answer lies in this trope. Specifically, the procedure that gave Mr. Amazing his powers only gave him a finite amount of those powers. Once they were exhausted, he would almost certainly die. In learning this, the Red Panda tries to convince Mr. Amazing to quit superheroics, but he refuses. Having discovered that Good Feels Good, Mr. Amazing declares he'd rather live a short life helping people as a superhero than a long life of doing nothing. In the episode "The End of the Beginning", his powers finally give out in the process of weakening the Nazi ubermensch Tevas enough for the Red Panda to strike the deathblow.
  • Survival of the Fittest: no matter which way you cut it, all but one of the students on any of the islands are subject to this trope - and the guy who isn't won't be found out until right at the end. Additionally, every character except the most arrogant ones goes into the game assuming they're going to die.
  • Tails of the Bounty Hunter shows early on that Cale Tomlik was exposed to a pathogen years ago that will inevitably kill him in a couple of years.
  • The main characters of Twig are experiments created by Mad Scientist professors of an Academy of Evil, each with an assigned group of doctors to monitor their progress and report on the results. However, each project has an expiration date, and when the narrator, Sylvester, discovers them early on, he confirms that most of them aren't going to live to see twenty.
  • In the Whateley Universe right now, there's an interesting variant. A young wizardess is trying desperately to avoid the consequences of an unstoppable curse. The variant? Said wizardess is the villainess Hekate, and the heinous curse was put on her by Fey, who is supposed to be one of the good guys.

    Western Animation 
  • This happens to Fern in the Grand Finale of Adventure Time. After Finn helps Fern to kill the Grass Demon, his body starts to deteriorate since the Grass Demon was always part of him since his creation. He manages to survive long enough to help Princess Bubblegum and her army to rescue Finn and Simon from GOLB before he dies, leaving only a seed in the shape of the Finn Sword behind. Finn uses the seed to plant a new tree with a restored Finn Sword around the remains of the destroyed treehouse.
  • Arcane: After Viktor collapses in his lab, it quickly becomes apparent that he's not long for this world. This drives him and Jayce to desperate methods seeking a cure.
  • Played with in an episode of BoJack Horseman when BoJack tells Sarah Lynn, his pseudo-daughter of around 30, that she can't stay with him anymore and suggests she go to rehab. The exchange goes a little something like this:
    BoJack: I'm sorry Sarah Lynn, but you can't stay here anymore.
    Sarah Lynn: Okay. I'll just text one of the billion people who will let me party at their house.
    BoJack: Well you should... not... do that.
    Sarah Lynn: Oh, I know. I know, but I'm at a point in my life where I don't have to 'grow as a person' or 'rise to any occasions,' so I can just keep surrounding myself with sycophants and enablers until I die tragically young.
    BoJack: Wh–what?
    Sarah Lynn: Yeah, it's pretty much too late for me.
    • Played straight with Herb, as we know he's going to die when we first meet him and it's revealed he has about six months to live. He gets his affairs in order. He asks Sarah Lynn to publish his manuscript after he dies, wanting his legacy to be something other than Horsin' Around (which she doesn't – not just because she was so high that she forgot, but also because everyone agreed it was horrible). His funeral episode reveals that he actually went into remission, however... The reason he died was that he was tweeting while driving and ran into a truck that was full of peanuts, of which he was allergic to.
    • Also played straight with Beatrice Horseman in Season 4, as she develops senile dementia and the doctors tell her son that she hasn't much time, if any, left. She dies not long before the events of Season 5 Free Churro.
  • This is a major plot point in the Futurama film "Bender's Big Score." Lars, despite being in love with Leela, breaks up with her because he is actually a time paradox-created clone of Fry who went back in time and lived an additional 12 years in the past before returning to the 3000s. After learning from Professor Farnsworth that all the time paradox clones will die in order to correct history he ended his relationship because he wanted her to be spared the grief of his eventual death. It comes to pass at the end of the movie when he dies via Heroic Sacrifice.
  • One Hey Arnold! episode has Grandpa Phil dreading his 81st birthday since his family is "cursed" to die at that exact age. Even though a doctor's check-up shows that he's capable of bench-pressing more than 200lb. he constantly talks about how he's doomed to die. The episode ends with Arnold pointing out that his relatives all died when they were 91, meaning that Phil's at least got a good 10 years before he needs to start worrying.
  • On an episode of The Jetsons, George goes for his physical and, afterwards, the doctor tells him he's probably going to die soon and says if he has anything he's ever wanted to do, do it now. George takes advantage of this to finally tell off Mr. Spacely. Spacely is impressed enough by this display of fearlessness that he offers George the opportunity to be the test pilot for the indestructible jacket his company has designed. Just before the last test (where two missiles will be fired at him), the doctor tells him there was a mistake (the result of the diagnostic probe accidentally going into an ancient mummy, rather than George's body) and he'll probably live to be 150.
  • In an episode of The Venture Bros., Dr. Orpheus is accidentally shot by Action Man. When everything is resolved, he grabs his hands...
    Dr. Orpheus: Two years, seventeen days.
    Action Man: ...what?
    Dr. Orpheus: From a stroke. Good day, sir!
    • This eventually comes to pass in Season 7, but he ends up in a coma after Orpheus and the others manage to get him to a hospital in time.


Video Example(s):


What's 78 Years More?

After waiting thousands of years to find a replacement, the Guardian of the Multiverse is fine with waiting for Anne to live her life before 78 years.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / YourDaysAreNumbered

Media sources: