Special Report

American Presidents Who Lived the Longest and Shortest Lives

21. Chester A. Arthur
> Age at time of death: 57 years
> Date of death: November 18, 1886
> Cause of death: Stroke
> Place of death: New York City

Inheriting the presidency after Garfield’s assassination and serving only one term, Chester A. Arthur was never directly voted into the White House. Though he never made it public, Arthur suffered from a kidney disease throughout his term. His poor health reportedly kept him from seeking a second term. Less than one year after he left office, Arthur died of a stroke in New York City at age 57. Including those who were assassinated, Arthur is the fifth shortest lived president in U.S. history.

22, 24. Grover Cleveland
> Age at time of death: 71 years
> Date of death: June 24, 1908
> Cause of death: Heart attack
> Place of death: Princeton, New Jersey

Though several other presidents of the era risked their lives fighting for the Union in the Civil War before assuming office, Grover Cleveland was not one of them. In fact, when a draft was instituted in 1863, Cleveland paid an immigrant to serve in his stead. Despite not serving in the military, Cleveland made a career out of public service. Starting in local politics, Cleveland served as sheriff of Erie County, New York, then as mayor of Buffalo, and then as Governor of New York. Cleveland served twice as president, once in 1885 and again in 1893. To date, he is the only U.S. president in history to have served two non-consecutive terms in office. After his second term, Cleveland retired to Princeton, New Jersey, where he died of a heart attack a decade later.

23. Benjamin Harrison
> Age at time of death: 67 years
> Date of death: March 13, 1901
> Cause of death: Pneumonia
> Place of death: Indianapolis, Indiana

Elected 100 years after George Washington, Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of former President William Henry Harrison. Harrison continued to enjoy a public role after his presidency, delivering speeches and lectures around the country. Harrison eventually died of pneumonia in his Indianapolis, Indiana home on March 13, 1901. The former president was 67 years old at his time of death.

25. William McKinley
> Age at time of death: 58 years
> Date of death: September 14, 1901
> Cause of death: Gangrene
> Place of death: Buffalo, New York

On September 14, 1901, William Mckinley became the third president to die from an assassination. Six months into his second term, on September 6, McKinley was shot while greeting the public at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. While McKinley’s doctors predicted the president would recover from the attack, his bullet wounds soon became infected with gangrene, and he died eight days later. The assassin, Leon F. Czolgosz, was a self-proclaimed anarchist who believed McKinley to be an “enemy of the good people.”

26. Theodore Roosevelt
> Age at time of death: 60 years
> Date of death: January 6, 1919
> Cause of death: Inflammatory rheumatism
> Place of death: Oyster Bay, New York

After losing his bid for reelection to a third term in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt embarked on an expedition to explore the uncharted River of Doubt — now renamed Roosevelt River — in the Amazon region of Brazil. Encountering treacherous rapids, food shortages, malaria, violent natives, and an internal hostility that led to a murder within his party’s own ranks, Roosevelt almost lost his life on the journey. He eventually returned to the United States and public life. He died in his sleep in his Oyster Bay, New York home on January 6, 1919 of a pulmonary embolism caused by inflammatory rheumatism. The former president was 60 years old at the time of his death.

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