Can you tell me the percentage of people that die every year from the explosion of blood vessels in their brain when they are on the toilet. I am really not this sick, it is extra credit for my physics class.

I'M GOING TO PRETEND, against my better judgement, that this is in fact a serious inquiry, and with tongue pressed firmly in cheek, I shall attempt to answer it.

First I'm not even going to bother looking for statistical or even anecdotal data on this phenomenon. Why not? I have good reason to doubt anyone anywhere is keeping numbers on this. You're actually quite lucky my long-term memory still serves me, because I do remember only one list on the subject, which I have on hand, "9 Well-Known Persons Who Died in the Bathroom", published in The People's Almanac #2 by David Wallenchinsky and Irving Wallace (1978):

HELIOGABALUS (204-222), emperor of Rome: Murdered by his Praetorian Guard while hiding with his mother, also killed.

ARIUS (256?-336), Christian theologian and heretic: Died of bowel pains, probably poisoned.

EDMUND II (980?-1016), king of England: "Stabbed from beneath as he answered a call of nature."

JAMES I (1394-1437), king of Scotland: Murdered by assassins while hiding with his lady-in-waiting.

HENRY III (1551-1589), king of France: Murdered by a fanatical Jacobin friar.

ARTHUR CAPEL, EARL OF ESSEX (1631-1683), English politician: slit his throat while imprisoned in the Tower of London.

GEORGE II (1683-1760), king of Great Britain and Ireland: Collapsed after breakfast.

LENNY BRUCE (1925-1966), comedian: Heroin overdose.

ELVIS PRESLEY (1935-1977), pop musician: Either natural causes or excessive drugs.

Again, relying on memory, I can add one more name to this list for an even ten: former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo, who succumbed to a heart attack in 1991. As a bonus I'll even toss in the convict who accidently electrocuted himself (see Related Articles below). In all, we can see that half of these individuals were murdered, and not one death could be definitively attributed to a stroke or aneurysm.

Very few mortality tables specifically list the actual place of death, other than general circumstances of the home, the workplace or somewhere on the road between. Usually the specific location is itself irrelevant to the actual cause of death. In all the mortality statistics I've ever looked at, I've never seen them broken down in this fashion. I would presume the only resources available with such specific information as "on the toilet" or "in the bathroom" would belong to the police and emergency services that respond to these situations, and I really can't imagine that they're busy tabulating their records on this basis.

Normally when someone dies of a heart attack while watching television in the family room, the event is simply recorded as "death by heart attack", and never so elaborate as "death by heart attack while watching television in the family room". When someone is stabbed to death in the pool room at a bar, that event is simply recorded as "death by stabbing". Only in the event that someone famous dies in the bathroom, like those listed above, does the specific circumstance become public knowledge.

Thus, in such cases of dying on the toilet of a stroke or aneurysm, the cause of death will be simply recorded as "death by stroke" or "death by aneurysm", and not "death by stroke while straining on the toilet", which makes compiling meaningful statistics of any sort essentially impossible.


Out of the Frying Pan:
Associated Press, March 7, 1989
  Lifer electrocutes self on the potty.