The Weirdest Way To Die: “La Mort D’Amour”

May 16, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

The Weirdest Way To Die: “La Mort D’Amour”

What A Way To Go

Doing the deed can be a stressful business, and sometimes it's just took much for the body to take. Or maybe people just like to do it in dangerous places. But these are the most infamous examples of what the French call "La Mort D'Amour".


Pope John XII - 964

Pope John XII, the party pope, was infamous for his drinking, womanizing, and all around immoral behavior. Well, at least he went out doing what he loved...

image of Johannes Xii PapaÖsterreichische Nationalbibliothek - Austrian National Library, Picryl

Caught Red Handed

There are two versions of the story about Pope John XII's demise. Either he had a stroke while doing the deed with a woman named Stefanetta—or Stefanetta's husband found them first. Stories say he either threw the party pope out a window...or beat him with a hammer.

Brown Anvil With MalletMatthias Zomer, Pexel

Lord Palmerston - 1865

Lord Palmerston was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the height of the British Empire. He was one of the most powerful men in the world—but the way he went out wasn't exactly befitting his station.

portrait of Lord PalmerstonHulton Archive, Getty Images

Randy To The End

Though the official explanation was pneumonia—understandable given his age of 81—that didn't stop the story from leaking out that Palmerston's heart gave out when his wife found him with a maid in the billiards room.

Human Respiratory System Lungs AnatomyMagic mine, Shutterstock

Félix Faure - 1899

French president Félix Faure met socialite Marguerite Steinheil, wife of French painter Adolphe Steinheil, in 1897. She must have liked power, because she quickly became his mistress, frequently sneaking in and out of the salon bleu in his rooms at the Élysée Palace. But he was getting a little old...

President Félix FaureNadar, Wikimedia Commons

The Salon Bleu

On February 16, 1899, the president rang up Steinheil and told her to meet him at the Palace, as she had many times before. Not long after he arrived, someone called servants to his rooms. They found Faure dead on the floor in a state of undress while Steinheil fixed her own clothes. 

Official cause of death? Brain hemorrhage. What do you think?

tombstone at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in ParisJOEL SAGET, Getty images

Cardinal Jean Daniélou - 1974

Cardinal Jean Daniélou was a renowned and respected French Jesuit theologian in the 20th century. Hard-working and modest, he actually turned down the cardinalate twice before finally accepting when the Pope insisted. That only made where they found his body all the more scandalous.

image of Cardinal DaniélouKeystone-France, Getty Images

Why Was He There?

When Daniélou suddenly croaked, he was in an extremely incriminating situation. He was found in the home of a Parisian working girl with his pockets filled with cash. The Church was quick to claim her was there to offer the woman charity, hence the cash. Maybe that IS why he was there!

Cardinal DaniélouKeystone-France, Getty Images

Nelson Rockefeller - 1979

The chef who made Oysters Rockefeller called it that because the dish was so rich—so you know Nelson Rockefeller was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Nelson used his advantages to become Vice President of the United States, a surprisingly progressive Republican.

And, like most rich people, Nelson enjoyed the finer pleasures of life.

Nelson Rockefeller speaks at AFL convention as union President George Meany looks onLos Angeles Times, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

A 25-Year-Old Secretary

Nelson Rockefeller suffered a heart attack at 70 years old in the presence of his 25-year-old secretaty, Megan Marshack. When New York Magazine heard the news, they quipped "Nelson thought he was coming, but he was going".

Nelson Rockefeller as Presidential Assistant in LimousineBettmann, Getty Images

Isamu Togawa - 1983

Japanese writer Isamu Togawa suffered from chronic arrhythmia, so maybe he should have taken it a little more slow in the bedroom. He suffered heart failure in his hotel room after a party in 1983, and it was the woman he was with who called for help.

man with chest pain from a heart attack

Sir Billy Snedden - 1987

Sir Billy Snedden first entered the Australian House of Representative when he was just 28, and he was a major voice in Australian politics for the next 30 years. He too suffered "La Mort D'Amour," but in this case, the most interesting the part is who he was doing it with.

image of Billy SneddenNational Archives of Australia, Wikimedia Commons

Wait, WHO?

When officers arrived at the scene, they determined that Snedden had "expired at the peak of physical congress". And who was the lucky lady? Well, it was actually his son's ex-girlfriend. But it was all under the bridge: His son later said, "I'm sure the old man went out happy—anyone would be proud to die on the job".

image of Billy SneddenUnknown author, Wikimedia Commons

Unidentified Woman - 1997

It was a tragedy when a woman suffered a fatal fall from a balcony in Houston in 1997. She had been doing it—with her employer—on the balcony when things got a little too out of control and she fell. But the story gets way more twisted from there...

Skyline of the Houston, TX downtown districtDavid Daniel Turner, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Foul Play?

Not long after the tragedy, the businessman was hit with a chilling accusation: He had forced himself on the woman, and when she refused, he threw her off the balcony for fear she'd tell his wife. The courts eventually bought his story: They'd been drinking, they hooked up, and she fell when they were getting randy.

He was found not guilty—but his wife probably felt a little different.

Bizarre Neighbors FactsUnsplash

Two Men In Romania - 1999

Like many countries, Romania has a long history of criminalizing homosexuality. They made it legal in 1998, but stigma remained. That's likely what caused two gay Romanian men to hook up in their car—but they made a fatal mistake.

gay couple holding hands strollingAitana fotografia, Shutterstock

They Left It Running

The two men parked their car in a garage before going it, but they forgot something extremely important: They left the car running. Both of the men soon succumbed to carbon monoxide.

toxic fumes that are released by carOdy_Stocker, Shutterstock

South Carolina Couple - 2007

In 2007, a young couple, both just 21 years old, where found unclothed on an empty street in Columbia, South Carolina. There were so many questions—but the answers were just waiting to be found.

Columbia, South CarolinaSean Pavone, Shutterstock

They Found The Clothes

Authorities eventually found the couple's clothes on the roof of a four-story building looking down on where their bodies were found.

one gray winter fabric jacket lies on the groundButus, Shuttersstock

Gotta Be Careful With Nipple Clamps

An unidentified woman from Pennsylvania had a very...interesting story to tell St. Peter at the pearly gates. She was fatally electrocuted...with her own homemade nipple clamps. Officials ruled the case a homicide—though likely because the woman's husband lied at first and said she shocked herself with a hair dryer.

Attractive woman with nipple clamps from sex shopPixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Atlanta Law Enforcement Officer - 2009

An officer from Atlanta who suffered from atherosclerosis collapsed while engaged in a three-way with another man and a woman who was not his wife. But at least his wife got the last laugh in the end—though in a rather strange way.

Atlanta Law Enforcement Officer carBilly F Blume Jr, Shutterstock

Get That Money, I Guess

The woman's wife ended up getting awarded $3 million, but not from anyone involved in the three-way. She got the money from her late husband's doctor. She claimed the doctor should have advised her husband not to engage in strenuous behavior—like adulterous three-ways.

image of pounds moneyMakhh, Shutterstock

Zimbabwean Woman - 2013

Heart attacks and falls are pretty common—what about lion attacks? A couple in Zimbabwe were doing the deed outdoors when a lion attacked them. The man survived, but tragically the woman didn't.

A Red Pin on Zimbabwe of the World Maphyotographics, Shutterstock

35-Year-Old Malawian Man

A man from Malawi collapsed in the presence of a working girl in Phalombe, Malawi. Authorities who examined the scene determined that the man suffered excessive spasms, "which caused blood vessels in the brain to rupture". They did not pursue action against the woman, however, who they said  "committed no crime by being too sweet for the man".

streets of Lilongwe in Malawihecke61, Shutterstock

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