George Washington’s turning point
In 1790, the first president of the United States, George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799), contracted a flu that quickly developed into pneumonia that endangered not only his life but also the fate of the young American nation. The streets near the presidential residence, then located in New York, the capital of the United States between 1785 and 1790, were closed to traffic and sprinkled with hay to prevent noise and facilitate the president’s rest. George Washington crossed the scales and served two terms.
George Washington PHOTO britannica.com; Two consecutive terms: April 30, 1789 – March 3, 1797
William H. Harrison’s fatal pneumonia
William H. Harrison (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) did not have George Washington’s chance. Died in bed on March 26, 1841, from a cold that quickly turned into pneumonia and pleurisy, the ninth American president did not rise. He died after nine days of fighting the disease, despite all the efforts of doctors. He is the US president with the shortest term – 32 days – and the first to die during office.
William H. Harrison PHOTO history.com; Unfinished term: March 4 – April 4, 1841
Zachary Taylor’s mysterious indigestion
On July 4, 1850, Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850) participated in a fundraiser for the Washington Monument, then under construction. On this occasion, he ate cherries, apples and berries, all accompanied by plenty of ice cream and water. He never left the event. He felt cramps and abdominal pain, and five days later he passed away. The cause of his death has not been determined until today. The long-circulated poisoning thesis is rejected by historians. His doctor mentioned a digestive disorder. He is the second American president to die during his term.
Zachary Taylor PHOTO history.com; Unfinished term: March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
Grover Cleveland’s secret operation
In 1893, a few months after the beginning of his second term in office of the United States, Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908) was the protagonist of an operation worthy of a spy film to hide his cancer from public opinion. . Finding out about his tumor, the only American president with two non-consecutive terms decided to keep the information only for himself and his entourage. He feared the upheaval of Wall Street at a time when the United States was experiencing a severe economic crisis. Therefore, he announced that he was going fishing at sea, but in reality he underwent surgery in an operating room specially arranged in a yacht. He then hid the aftermath of the operation with his mustache.
Grover Cleveland PHOTO britannica.com; Two terms: March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1889, respectively March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1897
Woodrow Wilson survived the Spanish flu
The first American president to be infected during the pandemic was Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924), who had been ill with the Spanish flu for more than a hundred years. The American leader during the First World War contracted the Spanish flu virus in April 1919, when he was in Paris to negotiate peace. He also met with Queen Maria of Romania in the French capital on April 10 and 11. In those days, the American president felt cough, fever, fatigue and confusion. “He is seriously ill,” his doctor noted. However, the information was kept secret, as in the case of Grover Cleveland’s tumor. An important role in this regard was played by his wife, Edith, who blamed the disappearance of the president on the fact that he felt the result of long and intense work.
After defeating the fight against the Spanish flu, considered the deadliest pandemic in human history since the 14th century, more than 17 million dead, President Wilson suffered a stroke in October 1919. And this time the disease was kept secret, while Edith Wilson ensured from the shadows the fulfillment of the second term until the end.
Woodrow si Edith Wilson PHOTO Getty Images; Two consecutive terms: March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921
The sudden death of Warren Harding
After a trip to Alaska in June-July 1923, made in order to improve his image wrinkled by numerous scandals, the 29th American president found during a stop on his way home that he was experiencing pneumonia. . Exhausted, he died on August 2 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Leaving behind the turbulent political climate at the time, some voices claimed that the president had been poisoned. The thesis is still debated today, but without tangible evidence. What is certain is that his wife refused to perform the autopsy, and the military doctors issued several diagnoses: cerebral congestion, food poisoning and heart attack.
Warren Harding PHOTO Getty Images; Mandate: March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s hemorrhage
Franklin D. Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945) was the only American president elected four times, on November 8, 1932, November 3, 1936, November 4, 1940, and November 7, 1944, respectively. he was one of the main diplomatic actors of World War II. On April 12, as the U.S. military attacked German territory, President Roosevelt collapsed, accusing him of a violent headache. He died that afternoon from a massive brain hemorrhage.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt FOTO Getty Images; Four consecutive terms: March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
Dwight D. Eisenhower, stroke victim
Five-star general, Dwight D. Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was the 34th President of the United States. During his two terms, he had problems not only with the containment of the Soviet Union, but also with his heart. He suffered two heart failures: in 1955 and 1957. Also in 1957, he suffered a stroke in the middle of a meeting at the White House, which left him partially aphasic.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, former commander in World War II PHOTO Archive; Two consecutive terms: January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
Ronald Reagan, active eight hours after colon cancer surgery
At the beginning of his presidency, Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) began wearing a private hearing aid in his right ear. He later put another on his left ear. Since 1983, he has not released them when he appeared in public.
On July 13, 1985, he delegated power to Vice President George HW Bush and left it to doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital to remove cancerous polyps from the colon. The operation lasted three hours, and in another five Reagan resumed his presidency. By the end of his term, he had undergone three more cancer removal operations. He wanted an active post-presidential life, but became ill with Alzheimer’s. He last appeared in public at the funeral of former President Richard Nixon, who died on April 22, 1994.
Ronald Reagan, celebrating with his wife Nancy PHOTO Archive; Two terms: January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989