Reminder: 7 Famous Figures Who Were Absurdly Hard To Kill

'In a second, Death, I'm busy.'
Reminder: 7 Famous Figures Who Were Absurdly Hard To Kill

Death comes for every man, but that doesn't mean you have to make it easy for the bastard. These are the men who, despite whatever terrible things they may have done in life, earned a place in our hearts with their amazingly badass deaths.

Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard

Why He Had to Go

Blackbeard or Edward Teach was a famous English pirate and a massive asshole by all accounts. He had between fourteen and sixteen wives, most of them about a biscuit older than Dakota Fanning. One wife in particular would be routinely forced to run a train with the crew while Blackbeard watched and "buffed his peg leg" so to speak. He burnt hemp beneath his ... um, black beard, to make it look like he was breathing fire, which worked to intimidate his enemies but likely alienated his crew since such a stunt would make an 18th century pirate smell like a snowman made of dogshit.

He'd also occasionally murder his first mate, just to keep everyone on their toes.

"I can't even remember why I was mad at you."

How He Went Down

Blackbeard eventually retired to North Carolina to spend his senior years rolling around in gold coins. But the Governor of Virginia put out a hit on Blackbeard, sending two ships after him, commanded by Robert Maynard.

Rather than running from the two enormous ships sent to kill him, Blackbeard boarded Maynard's ship. Well, first he bombed the deck with an assload of primitive grenades like Jim Brown in The Dirty Dozen. That's when things got all sorts of stabby. Blackbeard nearly severed the fingers on one of Maynard's hands with his sword, and Maynard broke his fucking sword stabbing Blackbeard back.

At the end of the fight, Blackbeard had been stabbed twenty times and suffered at least five gunshot wounds, before bleeding to death while trying to reload his pistol to keep the party going. Maynard then cut Blackbeard's head off and hung it from the bow of his sloop, partly for effect but mostly because he needed the head to collect his reward. He was paid 100 pounds for his trouble, the modern equivalent of about $18,000 or a 2006 Buick Rainier.

Go ahead. You've earned it.

Pablo Escobar

Why He Had to Go

Escobar was the head of the Medellin Drug Cartel, a Colombian drug empire that moved 80 percent of the world's cocaine (the remaining 20 percent was trafficking its way through Dennis Hopper). In 1989, Forbes magazine famously named Pablo Escobar the seventh richest man in the world with an estimated worth of $25 billion. He was immediately rocketed to prominence in the world of rap lyrics and airbrushed t-shirts.

Not pictured: historical context.

Escobar was personally responsible for over 4,000 deaths, which is roughly 100 times more people than you will ever meet. He ordered the assassination of a Colombian presidential candidate who supported an extradition treaty with the United States. Then he blew up a commercial airliner to kill a man that wound up not even being on the plane, and leveled several city blocks in the bombing of a government building in Bogota.

He routinely murdered judges and politicians, and had a standing public bounty on police officers. He ordered two to three car bombings a day, enough that we're surprised people didn't just start walking to work.

How He Went Down

A special task force consisting of U.S. Delta Force operators, SEAL Team 6 and the Colombian police was formed with the explicit purpose of taking Pablo down. They were known as the Search Bloc, and they were in no way fucking around.

We are in no way fucking around.

They joined a posse of vigilantes known as Los Pepes, made up of the friends and family of the people that Pablo had murdered. They tracked Escobar to a barrio and a bullet festival ensued.

The shootout led to the rooftops of Medellin, with Escobar jumping from building to building, absorbing gunshot wounds to the legs and torso. Finally fed up with the hail of gunfire, he shot himself in the head to avoid capture.

However, the authorities claim that the fatal shot was from one of the several thousand they fired at him, a story which is supported by the painting below depicting Escobar as a King Kong-sized Jack Black being attacked by rubber space capsules.

There was also a book written about Escobar called Killing Pablo. Chances are if the title of a book about you refers to how you were kicked off the planet, you probably stepped on a few too many toes.

The only thing missing from this picture is Richard Dreyfuss measuring his bite radius.

Ned Kelly

Why He Had to Go

Ned Kelly was an infamous Australian outlaw in the late 19th century, responsible for two major bank robberies and the murder of three policemen. He's an icon in Australian history, alongside such heroes as Paul Hogan and the dude who brews Fosters.

It should be noted he shot the three policemen while trying to escape an attempted murder charge. So it was like punching your wife in the face to get her to stop lying about being punched in the face.

How He Went Down

Ned Kelly and his gang took over seventy hostages at the Glenrowan Inn after learning a train full of policemen were on their way to arrest them. Despite an attempt to derail the train, the police managed to corner Kelly and his men in the inn. The outlaws, taking the next logical step, donned homemade suits of motherfucking battle armor.

Kelly marched straight outside and started firing at the police while the rest of his gang remained behind. Bullets pinged off Kelly's armor, but his legs and groin were comparatively unprotected (a huge oversight, in our opinion).

Body armor as designed by Cracked Staff.

Kelly took enough shots below the belt that he eventually went down. But while the rest of his gang was killed during the shootout, Kelly survived and was arrested. Two weeks later they put him on trial and ordered his execution.

When the judge handed down the death sentence, Kelly responded, "I will see you there when I go." The judge died a few weeks later, proving that on top of everything else, Kelly was a dark wizard.

Leon Trotsky

Why He Had to Go

In 1917, Trotsky was Lenin's right hand man when the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia. He created and commanded the Red Army and was a member of the Politburo, which oversaw all other branches of Soviet government and made all policy decisions. He also wore glasses and had a wicked goatee, so you know he read books and shit.

Quiet, I'm reading this shit.

After Lenin died, Trotsky was expelled from the Communist party and kicked out of Russia. In return, Trotsky attempted to enter the United States to testify before Congress that Stalin was a major douchebag. Upon hearing this, Stalin decided his next move would be to expel Trotsky from life.

How He Went Down

Trotsky was denied entry into the U.S. and eventually found his way to a home in Mexico City. It was there that he was attacked by Ramon Mercader, an assassin working for Stalin.

While Trotsky was home reading some shit, Mercader buried an ice axe into the back of his skull.

This just pissed Trotsky off.

He stood up from his desk, axe in head, and spit on Mercader. Then he went after the assassin, wrestling with him. Trotsky's bodyguards heard the commotion (where the fuck were they a few minutes ago?) and came running in to subdue the assassin and get Trotsky to the hospital.

"I gotta say, you seem- Oh. Okay, I see the problem."

Trotsky made it to the hospital and underwent surgery before finally dying a day later from complications related to being brained with a goddamn ice axe. We're hoping he lived long enough to fire those bodyguards.

Gabriel Garcia Moreno

Why He Had to Go

Moreno served as president of Ecuador in the mid-19th century. He was a devout Catholic and founded country's Conservative Party. He also looked like F. Murray Abraham.

One Moreno. Two Morenos. Whhaaaaaa?

Moreno established a law that made Catholicism the official religion of Ecuador, and required that anyone who ran or voted for office be Catholic. While this is awesome for Catholics, it's kind of a drag for everyone else. And so, the "everyone else" constituentcy of Ecuador decided that it was time to punch Moreno's ticket, F. Murray Abraham be damned.

How He Went Down

As he left the cathedral in Quito, Moreno was brutally attacked by a group of assassins. Armed with machetes, the group sliced through the president's neck, skull and brain, and severed his left arm and right hand.

He stayed on his feet. The man was the Black Knight from Monty Python.

Undeterred, his attackers shot him six times in the chest. He was slashed a total of fourteen times before he finally fell to the ground. Even then he was alive enough to write "God does not die" on the ground... in his own fucking blood.

After the assassins fled, the cathedral priests took Moreno back inside the church, where he lived for fifteen more minutes. When his body was examined after death, physicians observed he had balls of wrought iron .

Moreno's left testicle, artist's conception.

Ferdinand Magellan

Why He Had to Go

Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who was the first person in history to circumnavigate the globe, and was the first European to reach the Philippine Islands. Incredibly, he also discovered the Strait of Magellan. Who saw that coming?

Magellan agreed to kill a man named Lapu-Lapu, an enemy of two different Philippine kings that he was friendly with. It was originally his plan to convert Lapu-Lapu to Christianity, but in lieu of conversion, the sweet, sweet embrace of death would have to do.

"Can't say I didn't try."

How He Went Down

Magellan and his crew landed on Lapu's home island of Mactan. However, Lapu apparently knew they were coming, because he had an army waiting.

Magellan was hit with a poison dart almost immediately, but he trucked onward into the mass of native warriors, possibly shouting the Portuguese equivalent of "MOTHERFUCKERS!" as he did so.

He was stabbed in the face with a bamboo spear, to which he responded by burying his lance in the attacker. Magellan tried to draw his sword to keep fighting, but his arm was slashed and soon his leg as well, and he fell to the ground more or less mortally wounded.

Actual photograph of Magellan.

The natives then surrounded him and began stabbing and clubbing him as he lay defenseless. He kept looking up to see if his crew had made it safely back to their boats and, upon seeing that they finally had, Magellan allowed himself to die. We like to think that with his last breath, he screamed and chucked a spear that left a single cut in Lapu's cheek.

Grigori Rasputin

Why He Had to Go

Grigori Rasputin, the patron saint of dying hard, was a mystic that lived with Tsar Nicholas II in the early 20th century. The tsar and his wife Alexandra believed that Rasputin had the power to heal their hemophiliac son Alexei, so they kept Rasputin around the house as sort of a turn of the century Kato Kaelin. Rasputin's influence was so heavy that anyone seeking an audience with the royal family had to consult with Rasputin first.

Rasputin, by all historical accounts, was overtly full of shit. He was a drunk and a lecher, and routinely accepted bribes from people seeking his guidance. Rasputin's dubious lifestyle arguably added to the diminishing support of the Royal family, which ultimately led to revolution (see Trotsky, above). And he was gutted by a prostitute in public in 1914, which we imagine must do wonders for your image.

How He Went Down

After Rasputin recovered from the by-all-accounts gnarly stab wound delivered by the prostitute, a group of Russian nobles decided to finish the job by poisoning him to death with tainted wine and cake. History cannot agree whether any of the poison ever entered Rasputin's system (the poison in the cakes probably evaporated during baking), but this did little to diminish the conspirators' surprise when Rasputin didn't die.

So, Rasputin continued to hang out, eating cake, until one of the nobles finally grew impatient and shot Rasputin in the back. Content that he was dead, the murderers left the palace. One member of the party forgot his coat though, and when he returned to collect it, Rasputin sprang up from the floor like Skeet Ulrich in Scream and started strangling him.

The others arrived in time to shoot Rasputin three more times in the back, dropping him to the floor. But was he dead? Fuck no. He was still struggling to stand, so the conspirators clubbed the everloving shit out of him.

They wrapped Rasputin's body in a sheet and dumped him in the freezing Neva River. When they found Rasputin's body later, riddled with poison, gunshot holes and club wounds, they determined he had died... of hypothermia.

It was evident the bastard had managed to partially claw his way out of his wrappings, and if he had done it a few minutes faster, he probably would have wound up on the assassins' doorstep, dripping wet and pissed off.

We're guessing the conspirators slept with the lights on every night for the rest of their lives.

I am under your fucking bed.

You can read more of Tom's stuff at

For more historical badassery, check outThe 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time. Or have a look at some truly bizarre deaths in history in The 5 Historical Figures Who Died The Weirdest Deaths.

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