Top 10 Political Figures Who Died Too Soon

Script written by Matthew Thomas. Their lives shaped the world and their deaths saddened it. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 political figures who died too soon. For this list we’ve chosen political figures who died abruptly at a young age. We almost wonder what these important figures could have accomplished had their time on earth had been extended. No matter what your political stance is, you can’t argue that these people made their mark on history for the better. Special thanks to our user mattwatchmojo for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Matthew Thomas.

Top 10 Political Figures Who Died Too Soon

Their lives shaped the world and their deaths saddened it. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 politicalfigures who died too soon.

For this list we’ve chosen political figures who died abruptly at a young age.

#10: Harvey Milk
1930 – 1978

One of the first openly gay people to win political office in America, it was Milk’s spirit of inclusion that won him the allegiance of not only the LBGT community but also the world. Living his life in the closet until he was approaching middle age, his position in politics may have been relatively minor in comparison to others on this list, but his life galvanized a movement that’s still strong today. Gunned down by political enemy Dan White, Milk was Introduced to a new generation by the Sean Penn biopic, and remains a beloved figure.

#9: Eva Perón
1919 - 1952

An aspiring actress, Eva Duarte met Colonel Juan Perón and the trajectory of her life was forever changed. A year after the two were married, her new husband was elected President of Argentina. As the new first lady, she fought for the women of Argentina to gain the vote. She went so far as to found the country’s first female political party that was taken seriously. Although she ran for the Vice Presidency, her unsuccessful fight against cancer forced her to withdraw. Though her untimely death ended her political aspirations, Eva Perón’s posthumous fame grew when she became the subject of a smash musical, “Evita.”

#8: Che Guevara
1928 - 1967

Many people today may recognize him from those Rage Against the Machine t-shirts or that movie they didn’t see, but Che’s impact on Cuba can’t be measured. Disgusted by the hunger and disease he saw in South America, he came to see the United States as the enemy. Alongside Raúl and Fidel Castro, he led a movement to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista through guerilla tactics. Once their bid for power succeeded, he held many positions in the new government. Leaving Cuba in 1965 to aid other guerilla movements out to quash imperialism, Che was captured and executed by CIA-backed Bolivian forces in 1967.

#7: Ahmad Shah Massoud
1953 - 2001

Assassinated two days before the September 11th attacks, this fierce opponent of the Taliban and all enemies of Afghanistan’s freedom fell victim to a targeted suicide bombing. Massoud first came to world prominence as a leader in the fight against the Soviet occupation of his land. His legacy is one of unflinching loyalty to his country and its people. The leader of the Northern Alliance, he has been declared a National Hero and September 9 is celebrated as Massoud Day.

#6: Robert Kennedy
1925 - 1968

Though he died before attaining the Presidency he sought, Robert Kennedy’s life should not be underestimated. As a Senator and the U.S. Attorney General under his brother, RFK earned the respect and love of America. Kennedy was a strong proponent of the civil rights movement and a strong opponent of organized crime. He was poised to take a run at the presidency when he was gunned down at a campaign stop by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy had played a crucial role as an adviser in brother JFK’s presidency, and it’s likely his time in the White House could have been every bit as revered.

#5: Martin Luther King, Jr.
1929 - 1968

Arguably one of the most charismatic figures in the history of America, King’s ability to lead people of all ages, creeds and colors in the fight against bigotry changed the complexion of the world today. The nonviolent stance he championed held him apart from peers like Malcolm X and lent him the moral high ground. Murdered before his work was complete by James Earl Ray, his fight was picked up by the millions of people he inspired. His words live in the hearts and minds of open-minded people who hear them to this day.

#4: Abraham Lincoln
1809 - 1865

Arguably one of the most important Presidents in United States history, Lincoln’s leadership during a time of great turmoil in the country’s history helped mold the nation. He took office the year the U.S. Civil War began and was assassinated in the year it ended. It seems as if he was predestined to shepherd America through a bloody war, his own death a cruel reminder of the price of such a conflict. But even though his life was cut short, abolishing slavery and maintaining the union are amazing accomplishments. The country never learned what he could do as a president in peacetime, but if it compared to his achievements in war, the world truly lost out.

#3: Benazir Bhutto
1953 - 2007

The 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was a woman who held no illusions. She knew the politically active life she led could very well lead to her demise, but she eagerly embraced her choice. Though her legacy may not be as pristine as some would like it to be, there is no question that she holds the respect of a multitude of people, including many of her rivals. A key figure in the history of Pakistan and a symbol of female empowerment the world over, Bhutto was assassinated in 2007. The “Iron Lady,” as she was known, will not soon be forgotten.

#2: Alexander the Great
356 - 323 BC

This was a man of such gravity and charisma that he was able to unite forces behind him to accrue a vast territory, one which could not be retained for long after his death at a young age. Alexander’s impact on the world was absolutely immense. Amassing an empire that stretched from Greece to Egypt, he is considered by many to be the greatest military commander in history. It has become difficult to differentiate the myths of his life from the facts and to know whether he was a simply warmonger or a brilliant leader. But what we know for sure is he was beloved by many and his actions and vision defined his world.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

- Diana, Princess of Wales
1961 - 1997

- Pierre Laporte
1921 - 1970

- Jack Layton
1950 - 2011

- Malcolm X
1925 - 1965

#1: John F. Kennedy
1917 - 1963

President for less than three years, JFK held the reins of power in America during some of the most important years in its history. His expert handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis staved off all-out nuclear war. He championed and promoted the space race, which has given humanity a far greater understanding of the universe. An extraordinary speaker, his address in Berlin and his inaugural speech inspired audiences across the country and around the globe. The world was shocked when he was taken far too young by an assassin’s bullet, and the controversy over his assassination continues to this day.

Do you agree with our list? Which political figure do you think died too soon? For more political Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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