How he died: He got a nosebleed on his wedding night.
Details: In 453 AD, Attila married a young girl named Ildico. Despite his reputation for ferocity on the battlefield, he tended to eat and drink lightly during large banquets. On his wedding night, however, he really cut loose, gorging himself on food and drink. Sometime during the night he suffered a nosebleed, but was too drunk to notice. He drowned in his own blood and was found dead the next morning.
Tycho Brahe: An important Danish astronomer of the 16th century. His ground breaking research allowed Sir Isaac Newton to come up with the theory of gravity.
How he died: Didn't get to the bathroom in time.
Details: In the 16th century, it was considered an insult to leave a banquet table before the meal was over. Brahe, known to drink excessively, had a bladder condition -- but failed to relieve himself before the banquet started. He made matters worse by drinking too much at dinner, and was too polite to ask to be excused. His bladder finally burst, killing him slowly and painfully over the next 11 days.
Horace Wells: Pioneered the use of anesthesia in the 1840's.
How he died: Used anesthetics to commit suicide.
Details: While experimenting with various gases during his anesthesia research, Wells became addicted to chloroform. In 1848 he was arrested for spraying two women with sulfuric acid. In a letter he wrote from jail, he blamed chloroform for his problems, claiming that he'd gotten high before the attack. Four days later he was found dead in his cell. He'd anaesthetized himself with chloroform and slashed open his thigh with a razor.
Francis Bacon: One of the most influential minds of the late 16th century. A statesman, a philosopher, a writer, and a scientist, he was even rumored to have written some of Shakespeare's plays.
How he died: Stuffing snow into a chicken.
Details: One afternoon in 1625, Bacon was watching a snowstorm and was struck by the wondrous notion that maybe snow could be used to preserve meat in the same way that salt was used. Determined to find out, he purchased a chicken from a nearby village, killed it, and then, standing outside in the snow, attempted to stuff the chicken full of snow to freeze it. The chicken never froze, but Bacon did.
Jerome Irving Rodale: Founding father of the organic food movement, creator of "Organic Farming and Gardening" magazine, and founder of Rodale Press, a major publishing corporation.
How he died: On the Dick Cavett Show, while discussing the benefits of organic foods.
Details: Rodale, who bragged, "I'm going to live to be 100 unless I'm run down by a sugar-crazed taxi driver, "was only 72 when he appeared on theDick Cavett Show in January 1971. Part way through the interview, he dropped dead in his chair. Cause of death: Heart attack. The show was never aired.
Aeschylus: A Greek playwright back in 500 BC. Many historians consider him the father of Greek tragedies.
How he died: An eagle dropped a tortoise on his head.
Details: According to legend, eagles picked up tortoises and attempt to crack them open by dropping them on rocks. An eagle mistook Aeschylus' [bald] head for a rock and dropped it on him instead.
Jim Fixx: Author of the best selling, Complete Book of Running, which started the jogging craze of the 1970's.
How he died: A heart attack... while jogging.
Details: Fixx was visiting Greensboro, Vermont when he walked out of his house and began jogging. He'd only gone a short distance when he had a massive coronary. His autopsy revealed that one of his coronary arteries was 99% clogged, another was 80% obstructed, and a third was 70% blocked... and that Fixx had had three other attacks in the weeks prior to his death.
Lully: One of our favorite 16th-century composers, who wrote music for the King of France.
How he died: Infection.
Details: While rehearsing the musicians, he got too serious beating time with his staff, and drove it right through his foot. He died of infection.