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President Trump is on the mend, but we couldn’t help but wonder: How many U.S. presidents have died while in office?

John F. Kennedy.
John F. Kennedy. (Getty Images)

As President Donald Trump continues to recover after testing positive for coronavirus, he becomes the latest in a long list of presidents who have battled illness while leading the nation.

But we couldn’t help but wonder: How many presidents have died while in office?

It hasn’t happened in more than a half-century, thanks to advances in medical care and increased security, but here is a closer look at the eight presidents who lost their lives while serving as commander in chief.

William Henry Harrison

The ninth president of the U.S., Harrison died on April 4, 1841, just one month into office after getting sick with pneumonia. Vice President John Tyler took the oath of office after Harrison’s death and became president.

Zachary Taylor

Taylor, the 12th president, served roughly 16 months as president before he died of a digestive ailment caused by consuming a combination of milk, water, apples and cherries. Vice President Millard Fillmore took over the presidency after Taylor’s death.

Abraham Lincoln

Even those who aren’t history buffs probably know that Lincoln, the 16th president, was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play at Ford’s Theatre in 1865. Vice President Andrew Johnson was sworn in as president following Lincoln’s death.

James Garfield

Less than four months after being sworn in as president, Garfield was shot in Washington, D.C. He died less than three months later and became the second president to die due to assassination. Vice President Chester Arthur was next in line to assume the presidency.

William McKinley

More than eight months after being sworn in for a second term in January 1901, McKinley died eight days after being shot in Buffalo, New York. He was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

Warren Harding

The 29th president, Harding served two years of his term before dying suddenly of a heart attack in San Francisco on Aug. 2, 1923.

Vice President Calvin Coolidge then became president.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

After winning a record fourth presidential election, Roosevelt died suddenly in April 1945 of a stroke. He was succeeded by Vice President Harry Truman.

John F. Kennedy

The last president to die while in office, Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald, while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. Vice President Lyndon Johnson was later sworn in to succeed Kennedy.


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