Maybe you can, but I couldn’t make this up. Read the whole thing here.
- In the third century B.C. the Greek stoic philosopher Chrysippus died of laughter after giving his donkey wine, then seeing it attempt to feed on figs.
- Martin I of Aragon died from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing in 1410.
- Pietro Aretino “is said to have died of suffocation from laughing too much.”
- It is cited that the Burmese king Nanda Bayin, in 1599 “laughed to death when informed, by a visiting Italian merchant, that Venice was a free state without a king.”
- In 1660, the Scottish aristocrat, polymath and first translator of Rabelais into English, Thomas Urquhart, is said to have died laughing upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.
- The phenomenon is also recorded in the book Crazy History where a Celtic soothsayer was able to predict the hour of his demise. As with the death of Calchas, when the time arrived and the soothsayer found himself still alive, he purportedly laughed hysterically, eventually killing himself through either heart attack or asphyxiation.
In modern times
- On 24 March 1975 Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from King’s Lynn, England, died laughing while watching the Kung Fu Kapers episode of The Goodies, featuring a Scotsman in a kiltblack pudding with his bagpipes. After twenty-five minutes of continuous laughter Mitchell finally slumped on the sofa and expired from heart failure. His widow later sent the Goodies a letter thanking them for making Mitchell’s final moments so pleasant.
- In 1989 a Danish audiologist, Ole Bentzen, died watching A Fish Called Wanda. His heart was estimated to have beat at between 250 and 500 beats per minute, before he succumbed to cardiac arrest.
- In 2003 Damnoen Saen-um, a Thai ice cream salesman, is reported to have died while laughing in his sleep at the age of 52. His wife was unable to wake him, and he stopped breathing after two minutes of continuous laughter. It is believed that he died either of heart failure or asphyxiation.