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Also Known as: Stroke; fit, attack, heart attack, seizure, convulsion, paroxysm

It is bleeding within internal organs and the accompanying symptoms. The term formerly referred to what is now called a stroke, however, nowadays, health care professionals typically specify the type of apoplexy, such as cerebral, ovarian and pituitary apoplexy.

From the late 14th to the late 19th century, apoplexy referred to any sudden death that began with a sudden loss of consciousness, especially one in which the victim died within a matter of seconds after losing consciousness. The word apoplexy may have been used to refer to the symptom of sudden loss of consciousness immediately preceding death. Ruptured aortic aneurysms, and even heart attacks and strokes were referred to as apoplexy in the past, because before the advent of medical science there was little ability to differentiate pathoses because there was very little accurate understanding of physiology in general.

Because the term by itself is now ambiguous, it is often coupled with a descriptive adjective to indicate the site of bleeding. For example, bleeding within the pituitary gland is called pituitary apoplexy, and bleeding within the adrenal glands can be called adrenal apoplexy.

Apoplexy also includes hemorrhaging with the gland and accompanying neurological problems such as confusion, headache, and impairment of consciousness.

Until the late 19th century, apoplexy was used to describe what today we call a stroke. A stroke is the sudden loss of brain function when a hemorrhage or clotted blood vessel interrupts blood flow to the brain. The resulting neurological damage can be permanent or even fatal. In fact, stroke was the world’s second leading cause of death in 2012, accounting for 6.7 million deaths.

Deaths attributed to apoplexy

There are 55 more people listed @

  • 1. Georgius Agricola
  • 2. Louisa May Alcott
  • 3. Ethan Allen (1738-1789)
  • 4. Isaac Ambrose
  • 5. John Albion Andrew
  • 6. John Andrews
  • 7. William Apess
  • 8. Johann Sebastian Bach
  • 9. Paul Baloff
  • 10. Colonel James Barclay
  • 11. Catharine Beecher
  • 12. Joachim du Bellay
  • 13. Sam Bernard
  • 14. Marie-Henri Beyle (Stendhal)
  • 15. Thomas William Booker-Blakemore
  • 16. Jean de La Bruyère
  • 17. Al Capone[4]
  • 18. Catherine the Great
  • 19. Jean-François Champollion
  • 20. Charles II of England
  • 21. Robert Chilton
  • 22. Empress Dowager Cixi[5
  • 23. Menno van Coehoorn
  • 24. Nicolaus Copernicus
  • 25. John Frederic Daniell
  • 26. Richard Dewhurst
  • 27. Charles Dickens
  • 28. Daniel Drawbaugh
  • 29. Joseph Ducreux[6]
  • 30. Gabriel Dumont
  • 31. Leonhard Euler[7]
  • 32. Félix Faure
  • 33. Johann Christian Fischer
  • 34. Gustave Flaubert
  • 35. Jacob Frank
  • 36. Andrew Freedman
  • 37. Émile Gaboriau
  • 38. Asa Bird Gardiner
  • 39. Orlando Gibbons
  • 40. George Gordon
  • 41. Sir Thomas Gresham
  • 42. Cemal Gürsel
  • 43. Charles Francis Hall
  • 44. Winfield Scott Hammond
  • 45. Lewis Harding
  • 46. Warren G. Harding
  • 47. John Haviland
  • 48. Matthew Henry
  • 49. Johann Friedrich Herbart
  • 50. Alois Hitler[8
  • 51. Leopold of Hohenzollern[9]
  • 52. Kwan Hoi-San
  • 53. Edward Jenner
  • 54. Pope John XII
  • 55. Fred Jones

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