Special Report

American Presidents Who Lived the Longest and Shortest Lives

1. George Washington
> Age at time of death: 67 years
> Date of death: December 14, 1799
> Cause of death: Pneumonia
> Place of death: Mount Vernon, Virginia

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. Relative to the average lifespan of males born in the 18th century, Washington lived a fairly long life. America’s first commander in chief survived numerous battles as well as a brush with smallpox. After ending his two terms as the country’s first president, Washington retired to his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. His retirement lasted about two years, until he passed away from pneumonia.

2. John Adams
> Age at time of death: 90 years
> Date of death: July 4, 1826
> Cause of death: Heart failure
> Place of death: Quincy, Massachusetts

John Adams died of heart failure on July 4, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. According to some historians, Adams muttered, “Thomas Jefferson survives,” moments before his death. Unbeknownst to Adams, however, Jefferson had died about six hours earlier. Adams enjoyed one of the longest periods of retirement of any president, living for more than 25 years after the end of his term.

3. Thomas Jefferson
> Age at time of death: 83 years
> Date of death: July 4, 1826
> Cause of death: Diarrhea
> Place of death: Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson also died on July 4, 1826, a few hours before John Adams. Jefferson and Adams were political rivals, but later exchanged numerous letters that are now one of the most studied political correspondences in the nation’s history. Jefferson’s health began to decline around 1818, eight years before he ultimately passed away at Monticello, his estate.

4. James Madison
> Age at time of death: 85 years
> Date of death: June 28, 1836
> Cause of death: Heart failure
> Place of death: Orange, Virginia

After finishing his two terms as America’s fourth president, James Madison retired to Montpelier, his Virginia estate. Madison lived there for about 19 years until his death, supervising the plantation. Madison’s health began to decline when he developed chronic rheumatism and suffered from liver dysfunction. He passed away one morning during breakfast on June 28, 1836. At the time of his death, Madison was 85 years old.

5. James Monroe
> Age at time of death: 73 years
> Date of death: July 4, 1831
> Cause of death: Tuberculosis
> Place of death: New York City

James Monroe accumulated considerable debt during his time in public office and spent much of his retirement attempting to reach financial solvency. He accepted a position at the University of Virginia, worked on various books that would never reach publication, and requested compensation from the federal government. Monroe moved to New York City in 1830, where he lived until his death the following year. Like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, Monroe died on July 4, Independence Day. Monroe was the last of the founding fathers to be president.