This PM job is killing me! How many Prime Ministers died in office?
Some say it’s an arduous job, others say it can’t be that hard, but for two of our Prime Ministers, it was deadly! At one point in time, Canada had lost half of its Prime Ministers while in office. That’s right, by the time the country was 27 years old, PM #1 and #4 had died in office.
The first one to kick the bucket (probably the same one he used to keep his drinks’ ice cubes in) is the Old Chieftain, Sir John A. Macdonald. Being sick for some time, John A. suffered a stroke, became paralysed and unable to talk. He passed away on June 6th 1891. Leaving his wife, two children and his seat at the parliament’s pub (there was one!).
The second and last one to quit while ahead is one of Macdonald’s replacements, Sir David Sparrow Thompson. First catholic to the office, and last of Macdonald’s minister to see him alive, Thompson was member of parliament for the lovely riding of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Now when I say ‘to quit while ahead’, I’m not exaggerating. The guy literally died while attending a ceremony given in his honor after being knighted by Queen Victoria herself in
Windsor Castle, England. Before being buried in Halifax, Sir David was granted a state funeral and his body was repatriated on a battleship painted in black for the occasion. Strangely, that same ship will, 20 years later, bring us back the body of a former Prime Minister, Sir Charles Tupper, who died while in England.