10 Fictional Character Deaths That Hit Fans the Hardest

Whether reading a book or watching a television show or movie, it’s easy to care about fictional characters and what happens because you’ve become invested in them. To see them die or be killed off can be devastating and emotionally draining as if it happened to someone you know. An internet group was asked which fictional character deaths hurt them the most, and the responses will have you looking for a box of tissues.

1. Shelby Eatenton, Steel Magnolias (1989)

Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias (1989)
Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

Newlywed Shelby, the young, sweet Southern belle of the movie, lives with Type 1 diabetes. She becomes pregnant against her doctor’s (and mother’s) wishes. The pregnancy results in her going into kidney failure and requiring a transplant. Sadly, she develops a post-transplant complication that takes her life, leaving her husband and infant son behind. Seeing her stoic mother break down at her gravesite pierces the soul.

2. Thomas J. Sennett, My Girl (1991)

My Girl (1991)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

This coming-of-age film follows 11-year-old hypochondriac Vada and the first-time experiences that shape her summer, including her first kiss with the doomed Thomas J., her best friend who’s allergic to everything.

The movie turns sad when Thomas J. looks for Vada’s missing mood ring in the woods, encounters an active beehive, and suffers a fatal allergic reaction to being stung. When Vada attends his funeral and insists that he needs his glasses to see, it’s hard not to tear up.

3. Hershel Greene, The Walking Dead (2010 – 2022)

The Walking Dead
Image Credit: AMC Studios.

One of the fan favorites of the long-running television series, the character of Hershel Greene was the wise and kindly father figure everyone wished they had. He served as the group’s moral compass, guided by his faith, always to do the right thing. His innate goodness made his death even more tragic when the Governor brutally murdered him to spite Rick and the rest of the survivors at the prison.

4. John Coffey, The Green Mile (1999)

John Coffey, The Green Mile (1999)
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The movie, based on the novel by Stephen King, takes place in the death row ward of a prison. One of the inmates is John Coffey, who’s been wrongfully convicted of a double murder.

Coffey is mentally disabled but empathizes with the ability to heal others, even bringing a pet mouse back to life. He refuses a chance to escape, choosing to die for a crime he didn’t commit rather than going through life and feeling the pain people inflict on each other.

5. Iron Man, Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Iron Man, Avengers Endgame (2019)
Image Credit: Marvel Studios.

Tony Stark/Iron Man has been an integral figure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) since its inception with the first Iron Man movie in 2008. That made his death in Avengers: Endgame all the more painful. In true superhero fashion, he sacrifices himself to save the world by using the gauntlet holding the Infinity Stones to destroy Thanos and his army. It was sad to see him die, but at least he went out on his terms.

6. Nate Fisher, Six Feet Under (2001 – 2005)

Nate Fisher, Six Feet Under (2001 – 2005)
Image Credit: HBO Entertainment.

Each episode of the groundbreaking HBO series prepared viewers to deal with death and how it intersects with the living. But no one was ready for Nate Fisher to die in the prime of his life. Nate was always seeking that perfect level of happiness, and just when it seemed like he was about to achieve that in his burgeoning relationship with Maggie, he was hospitalized with a brain disorder. He seemingly recovers, only to die in his sleep.

7. Bubba Blue, Forrest Gump (1994)

Bubba Blue, Forrest Gump (1994)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The character of Forrest Gump experiences more than his share of losses in the film, but the death of Bubba Blue is easily the most poignant. The close friendship between Forrest and Bubba leads them to agree to become partners in a shrimp fishing business once they’ve fulfilled their enlistment obligations to the Army.

The duo is deployed to fight in the Vietnam War, where Bubba dies in combat. Later, Forrest fulfills Bubba’s dream by starting the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

8. Apollo Creed, Rocky IV (1985)

Apollo Creed, Rocky IV (1985)
Image Credit: United International Pictures.

This Cold War-era movie was supposed to be the USA versus the Soviet Union, a Cold War-era exhibition boxing match between hero Apollo Creed and strongman Ivan Drago. Instead, it turned into a one-sided beatdown that ended with the American boxer dying in the ring. For viewers, the memory of the untimely death of Apollo looms large in the new series of Creed movies.

9. Emma Greenway, Terms of Endearment (1983)

Emma Greenway, Terms of Endearment (1983)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This five-time Academy Award winner movie about Aurora’s complex but loving relationship with her equally strong-willed daughter Emma is a genuine tearjerker. When Emma is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Aurora becomes her most prominent advocate and pillar of strength.

That strong façade crumbles when Emma dies, and Aurora realizes her daughter’s death wasn’t a relief but instead was the hardest thing she’d ever experienced.

10. Poussey Washington, Orange Is the New Black (2013 – 2019)

Poussey Washington, Orange Is the New Black
Image Credit: Lionsgate Television.

Of all the surprising moments from the hit Netflix television series (and there were plenty), the death of Poussey was one of the most shocking and heartbreaking events.

A peaceful protest against inmate mistreatment at the hands of corrections officers goes awry, and Poussey is accidentally suffocated under the knee of one of the officers. Her death stunned and crushed her fellow inmates; many viewers felt the same way.

Source: Reddit.

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This article was produced and syndicated by The Cents of Money.

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