Frida Kahlo death cause explained with drawings

2021 famous woman

This is the most mysterious fact of Frida's biography : her controversial death cause.

Frida was known for her self portrait paintings, inspired by her broken body and free mind as she laid in her medical bed.

frida kahlo viva la vida

Frida died at the age of 47. The official cause of death was a pulmonary embolism set on by pneumonia. This is what is written on the Death Certificate....but

 frida kahlo drawing detail

What if Frida commited suicide...

According to Hayden Herrera, the Author of the biography "Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo" (2002), the main reference about Frida, no autopsy was performed.

frida-kahlo-mono sourcil dessin

And several things happend before her death :

  • The nurse stated that Frida had taken an overdose the night she died. She had been prescribed a maximum dose of seven pills of Pethidine (pain killer) but had taken eleven.
  • During the evening before, she offered a present to her beloved Diego Rivera as a wedding anniversary present. But the date was over a month in advance.
  • 8 days before her death, she painted "Viva la Vida", a still life picture of red watermelons.
  • In 1954, Frida start to draw skeletons and angels in her diary and speak about her near death to visitors.
  • Her last words of her diary she wrote are "Espero Alegre la Salida – y Espero no Volver jamás" which means "I joyfully await the exit – and I hope never to return – Frida"

To better understand the pain she's had to cope with in her life, we will go through all her chronic and severe illness, starting with Polio, broken spine, broken legs, heavy medical surgery, misccariages, right foot amputation.

frida kahlo doodle artwork

Spina Bifida before she was born

In 2006, a team of researchers argued that Kahlo also had Spina Bifida, a birth defect that can cause deformities of the legs and spine and create chronic pain.

The American surgeon Leo Eloesser, she met in 1930 in San Francisco evaluated Frida’s spine anomaly a s a spina bifida. Her disability grew and surgical operations to her right foot and leg made it worse and worse.


She caught Polio at 6

Kahlo caught polio as a child, but overcame it, eventually learning to dance and play sports.

frida kahlo polio at 6

frida kahlo polio drawing detail

Frida Kahlo accident at 17

As a young woman, she was hit in a tram crash and Her spinal column was broken, her left leg smashed, and her right foot crushed. An iron handrail pierced her pelvis, perhaps leading to her inability later in life to carry a child.

frida kahlo tram crash 17 spine injury

Pain, everyday.

Frida suffered from lingering pain in her right foot, leg and back accompanied her for almost all her life. Frida Kahlo became exhausted, depressed and highly dependent on strong painkillers as pethidine and morphine.

frida kahlo pain spine spike

Psychologic pain

After many years of being bedridden or stuck in her wheelchair, she had to deal with her husband’s infidelity. Unable to give him babies following devastating miscarriages, she felt tired and decided to stop fighting.

frida kahlo diego rivera cheat sister

Her last diary message

“They amputated my leg six months ago, they have given me centuries of torture and at moments I almost lost my reason. I keep on waiting to kill myself. I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to come back.” - Frida Kahlo

A biography drawing to celebrate Frida

frida kahlo art print biography inside



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