Is Lyme Disease Fatal?

Many times we hear people mutter the words, “Well at least Lyme disease is not fatal.” But is it? We have a Lyme memorial on this website that shows it is. The problem is, it is hard to find much research on this subject at all. There is more then one article out there saying no, Lyme disease it not fatal, yet we who are in the Lyme community are losing friends left and right. This is a matter of research and statistics catching up to the reality that we are living, and dying from.

Again another problem is that Lyme disease is not what goes down on the death certificates. Heart failure, ALS, strokes and suicide is what goes down on the reports, not Lyme disease. But thanks to researchers like Dr Alan MacDonald and  Thomas Grier, M.S. they are starting to connect the dots between Lyme disease and other illnesses such as MS and Alzheimers. If you are interested in learning how to donate tissues to them please read this post.

So we are making an informal stats page here. We are looking up the people on our memorial to figure out “what” actually causes Lyme disease to be fatal or what those that have Lyme disease die of.

Of course this chart is a very unofficial record. It is just made from the patients listed on our memorial page. There are a lot of other memorial pages and there are many more deaths then listed here. We are just trying to provide a small look into what is causing our friends to die, along with age and gender comparisons.

So far this is what we have learned from a list of 219 Lyme disease patients that we studied.

Cause of Death:

This is what is listed as cause of death in their obituaries.

Again this information is very informal. It was impossible to get complete information without obtaining death certificates. This is the information we obtained from their obituaries or from what family members sent into us. Sometimes it is very general leaving one to speculate “what type of complications” did one die from? But so far this is all the information we have so we are presenting it the best we can.

ALS  11
Ankylosing Spondylitis  1
Cancer 18
Cardiac 9
Cause not listed 61
Co Infection 12
Complications due to Lyme 66
Dementia/alzheimers 2
In their sleep 4
Mast Cell
MS 1
Organ Failure 2
Paralysis  3
Pneumonia 1
Seizure 1
Sepsis 1
Stroke 5
Suicide 19
Other  2

Click on chart to enlarge.

Ages of Lyme Patient Fatalities

Out of 219 Lyme disease Patients

Under 10 Years old- 4
Ages 11-17 Years Old =4
Ages 18 -25 =14
Ages 26-30 = 14
Ages 31-40  =21
Ages 41-50 =36
Ages 51-60 = 44
Age 60 or over = 41
Not Sure of Age- 41

Click on chart to enlarge.

Female vs Male

Out of 219 Lyme Patient Fatalities

Female:   117
Male: 102

Click on chart to enlarge.

These are the Lyme Disease Patients these Charts were modeled after. 

  1. Nurse Practitioner: Female: Found dead in home: Cause of death not known yet
  2. Retired Nurse Practitioner: Female Age 70 Official cause: cancer
  3. John Hopkin’s Director: Female: Age 65 Obit says cause of death was: complications due to Lyme disease
  4. Dentist: Female: died after a long battle with Lyme disease.
  5. US Coast Guard, Male: degree in Business Finance: died  after a three year battle with Lyme disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities illness.
  6. Psychiatrist: 55 yrs old, Male: after a six year battle with Lyme disease
  7. Teenager: Female:  visiting US from Israel: encephalopathic, went blind, became paralyzed below the waist, then developed arm weakness and bladder and swallowing difficulties then passed away.
  8. Literary Fellow in Poetry: Female: 33 yrs old  suicide
  9. Nurse/Navy: Female:  Vascular Dementia
  10. Teacher and an environmentalist. Female:  61 yrs old  passed away on December 29, 2011 in her home
  11. ASC certified Master Tech HVAC Certification, Handyman, Cook and Horticulturist: Male: 25 yrs old died unexpectedly.
  12. ASC certified Master Tech: Male: 45 years old, cause of death  ALS
  13. Self-employed remodeling contractor:  Male: 56 yrs old died at his home after a long battle with Lyme disease.
  14. Female 44, died at home
  15. Commercial Pilot: Male: bone cancer, secondary to having Lyme disease for 40 years
  16. Artist and Author: Female: died at her home.
  17. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Female: 88 years old.
  18. Golden Hill Paugussett Indian: Male: cause of death:  leukemia, aggravated by Lyme disease
  19. Building inspector: Male: 50 yrs old: was on life support three times, had several strokes, died  from complications of Lyme disease.
  20. Member of the Lakota Indian Tribe and a veteran:  66 yrs old male: died from tick bite.
  21. 25 yrs old, female
  22. Clinical Counselor: 33 male,  died suddenly  from complications related to Lyme disease,
  23. Doctor: and a Lyme Patient himself he took his own life after being persecuted for treating patients with Lyme disease for seven years. suicide.
  24.  Owner of CleanUps Unlimited, a landscaping and hauling business:  died June 10, 2006, at his home in Highland, Maryland, from complications of ALS and Lyme disease.
  25. Occupational Therapist: Female, 60 yrs old,  Suicide
  26. U.S. Army Intelligence officer in World War II. senior consultant for Innovation, an international media consulting firm, died October 15, 2005, died ten weeks after being diagnosed with babesiosis, a tickborne, malaria-like disease that destroys red blood cells.
  27. Female 45, of Whitesboro passed away at home  with her family by her side.
  28. Artist, a philosopher, and a poet, male: 29 yrs old.  His last years confined him to his bed nearly all the time, in agony til he passed away.
  29. Male, 55 yrs old had Lyme for several years once even being on life support for heart problems caused by it.
  30.  Faculty member at Abington Friends School, female, died  at Sharon Hospital of ALS secondary to chronic Lyme disease.
  31. Executive producer and director of FX’s series “The Shield Brazil died  at Sherman Oaks Hospital in Los Angeles of complications from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Lyme disease.
  32. New Jersey’s First Lady from 1974 to 1982, died Sunday while surrounded by her family. She was 88.. She died from complications from Babesiosis.
  33. Father, husband, softball coach, died after many years of Lyme Disease due to complications the disease caused.
  34. 7 Year old child, female: died at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis after a 10 day infection with Ehrlichiosis.
  35. Female: founder of the Midwest Lyme Disease Association and publisher of LymeAide,  suffering from late Lyme disease for many years.  Sunday night she entered the hospital emergency room fighting severe pain. On Monday,  her condition declined and she became delirious. She was placed on a ventilator and and then
    slipped into unconsciousness then passed away.
  36. Worship Leader:Female  passed away recently after a long battle with Lyme Disease.
  37. Doctor: Male: Suicide 46 yrs old
  38. Male, suicide 32
  39. Emergency Room Nurse, Female, 49 yrs old,
  40. Executive Vice President at Foster Survey Company: female: 50 yrs old many years with Lyme, worsened and within the last couple of weeks she suddenly passed away surrounded by her three sons and husband.
  41. Boy,  8 years old complications from Lyme disease
  42. Teacher, Female, 52
  43. Singer/Songwriter, won Emmy suicide, he took his own life  after an eight year battle with Lyme disease.
  44. History Teacher, Female, took her own life after a ten year battle with Lyme disease.suicide
  45. Obstetrician-gynecologist & Army Nurse  World War IIcontracted Lyme disease during the 1980′s and went undiagnosed for years. Eventually, she had to give up her practice because she lost the use of her hands. confined to bed for almost twelve years before she passed away. died of a stroke, secondary to Lyme disease.
  46. Licensed practical nurse, female,  died after an eight year battle with Lyme disease.
  47. Teacher, librarian, female, died from complications stemming from Lyme disease
  48. University Professor, male, Alasdair after dealing with horrible depression and anxiety due to Lyme disease he committed suicide.
  49. Teenage girl, died after fighting hard for treatment even going to Germany but coulndt continue in Australia.
  50. Male, 51,  passed away at his residence surrounded by family and friends,after a 10-year battle with Lyme Disease-induced illnesses.
  51. Doctor, male, died after a valiant battle with Lyme and co-infections.
  52. Security Administration  analyst.  Female, 73  Social complications of Lyme Disease
  53. Male17 yrs ols complications of lyme disease
  54. Female She succumbed to complications from multiple tick-borne co-infections,including Lyme disease, babeisiosis, and protomyxzoa rheumatica
  55. Male 70 yrs old ALS
  56. Female, Operator at Maine Dartmouth Medical and in-patient registration at Inland Hospital:  42 yrs old,  died in her sleep.
  57. Colonel: US Air Force: Male 73 yrs old complications caused by Lyme Disease.
  58. Male:  found him deceased at his home. many years with lyme and co-infections, and  not able to obtain treatment.
  59. Female  stroke Along with the Lyme, her body wasfighting, she suffered another stroke and began developing numerous other health issues. The toll on her body simply became too much for her to continue to fight.
  60.  Principal at Shea High and Tolman High: Male: 53, ALS diagnosis, doctors ignored Lyme even after positive tests.
  61.  Heir-apparent at IBM and Director of the Advisory Committee of the Columbia University Medical Center Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Research Center in 1987 when an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease forced his premature retirement.  Male:
  62. Volunteer Fireman had long suffered from Lyme disease but died when bit by a snake, Mom believes Lyme lowered his ability to handle the snake venom.
  63. Male: had Lyme for many years passed away in his sleep.
  64. Worked for the Arkansas Electrical Cooperative Female: 39 yrs old complications from Lyme.
  65. Male, 77 lyme induces dementia
  66. Female, 36 yrs old, had Lyme over 10 years.
  67. Boy, 7 yrs old complications from lyme disease
  68. Conroe businessman: Male  66 yrs old  passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by friends and family.
  69. Title business: Female, 61 yrs old,  died at Dominican Hospital after suffering from Lyme disease and breast cancer.
  70. Female: 17 yrs old,  ALS and Lyme disease
  71. Paramedic: Female, 46 yrs old, got a tick bite, got sick, went into hospital and died next day.
  72. Director of the ECPDP at Corning Community College: and later Director of the Lyme Disease Association: Female, 8 yrs old.  diagnosed with both diagnosed with MS in college later testing pos for Lyme. Family said, spirochetes took her away from us.
  73. Female , 43 years old, Heart attack
  74. Mom, Violinist, Dancer. Female, 22
  75. Emergency Medical Technician: Male: 43: long battle with Lyme disease and ALS.
  76. Male, 22 yrs old battling Lyme disease for many years
  77. Female: 22 yrs old suicide
  78. Male: 64 complications from Lyme disease
  79. Herbalist: Female: 65 yrs old died in home
  80. Mom: Female  suicide
  81. Artist, Male:  44 yrs old suicide
  82. Counselor, female: 65 complications of Lyme disease, which led to a fall at her home
  83. Female:  30 yrs old
  84. Father died suddenly, early indication suggest a stroke or heart attack after many years of lyme
  85. Wife and mom, 43 yrs old, many years or Lyme disease.
  86.  U. S. Army and became a Disabled Veteran/Window Washer Photographer, husband, father, male: 29, died after a long battle with Lyme disease
  87. Male: 42 yrs old, After 17 years of being ill with chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease took his life
  88. Male, 37 yrs old,  suicide
  89. Medical advisory committee for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, : Male:  79 yrs old stroke and long term Lyme disease.
  90. Female: 20 yrs old passed after long battle with Lyme disease.
  91.  Cosmetology, massage therapy, and reflexology: Female: 68 passed away Monday evening, March 21, 2016 at her residence.
  92. Woodworker:motor-route driver for the Cape Cod Times Male: died in hospital of complications of Lyme disease.
  93. Male:  35 ALS
  94. Wife: Female: 37 yrs old
  95. Male: 27 years old suicide after fighting Lyme disease for 12 years.
  96. Game Warden, Police Officer two years of struggle, male, 53 yrs old died from the effects of contracting Lyme disease while on duty in January 1988. Cause: heart attack.
  97. Conservation expert, cab driver, chef, high school teacher and landscape business owner.male, 55 yrs old, died after a devastatingly swift battle with Lyme disease.
  98. Male: 61 yrs old.
  99. Cape Funeral Home director: male, 63 yrs old, died at Cape End Manor Nursing Home from complications of Lyme disease
  100. Male, 44 yrs old,  complications of lyme disease 3 years after tick bite. Caught the flu: due to the paralysis of his tongue, excessive mucus choked him.
  101. Male,  52 yrs old cancer and lyme disease.
  102.  Female, 30 died at her home
  103. Male, Lawn Sevice 76 yrs old Heartland virus, a rare tick-borne disease. The state Health Department confirmed he was the 10th person in the country to have the virus , sick only a couple months
  104. Female, 33 yrs old, sick for four years, died at home
  105. Male, self-employed IT Consultant. 51 yrs
  106.  Female, 52 yrs old,  sick 7 yrs, died from Lyme Disease.
  107.  Mom  Female, 50 yrs old
  108. Female, nurse, complications of Lyme disease
  109. Female,  suffered from Lyme disease her whole life but treating for the past 14 years.  passed away in her sleep, from lyme related heart failure.
  110. Female. Teacher, 64,
  111. Male, 51 yrs, Chemist,  suicide after 12 year battle with Lyme.
  112. Male, Northwestern Mutual Life, 37 yrs old died after a long battle with the unrelenting painful and debilitating effects of undiagnosed and untreated Lyme Disease.
  113. Male, 53, suffered from RSD, lyme disease and now cancer. died from cancer
  114. Male: Famous Food Writer, cooking books, 72s, at his home, following a two year fight with Lyme disease.
  115. Female: 69 yrs old
  116. Female, 42 yrs old,  complications from Lyme disease, had several years
  117. Female  36 yrs old ovarian cancer
  118. Female at her home in Florence at the age of 47
  119. Female 51 yrs old complicated late-Lyme battle for years with such amazing dignity and grace. Her cardio vascular system and potassium levels were the cause of her loss.
  120. Female, humanitarian, 25 yrs old,  enlarged heart stemming from complications of Lyme disease
  121. Male, 73 yrs old, investment broker
  122.  Male, 28 yrs old, Marine, suicide
  123. Male, 62 yrs old, male
  124. Female, 59 yrs old
  125. Female doctor,  57 yers old passed away on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010, peacefully at her home
  126. Male  57 yrs old died unexpectedly after a courageous battle with Lyme disease
  127. Male airforce 60 yrs old complications due to a five year battle with Lyme disease.
  128. Male decorated Vietnam veteran, 88 yrs old,  multiple organ and respiratory failure. died August 2, 2006 from complications of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis.
  129. Female 38 yrs old She died after fighting a courageous battle with Lyme Disease.
  130. Male 57 yrs old male on disabilty from Lyme Disease
  131. Female
  132. Male 53 yrs old Lyme Disease interrupted his career and ultimately his life.
  133. Male 57 yrs old race car driver male
  134. Male, 47 years old,  firefighter and emt,  long battle with ALS secondary to Lyme disease.
  135. Female  44 yrs old lyme and chlamydial pneumonia
  136. Female,  31 died suddenly in her home from complications for Lyme.
  137. Female
  138. Female 60 years old  following a long battle with ovarian cancer secondary to Lyme disease.
  139. Male complications of a five year battle with Lyme disease.
  140. Female 19 yrs old lyme for over three years, studying to be a dentist.
  141.  Female:  48 suicide
  142. Female 15 yrs old died August 26, 1994, after a six year battle with Lyme disease.
  143. Female 43 yrs old ALS
  144. Female died at 50 three years after being bit by a tick
  145. Male 63 yrs old complications from lyme
  146. Female after a long, hard struggle with Lyme’s Disease.
  147. Male 55 yrs old at his home due to complications of Lyme Disease.
  148. Female 20, passed away Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in Farmers Branch, Texas, as a result of West Nile and Lyme Disease.
  149. Female 41 heart failure in her sleep
  150. Male 24 yrs old complications of Lyme disease and Morgellons disease.
  151. Female 73 yrs old nurse lyme advocate
  152. Male Age 29, died Sunday, October 14, 2012 at his residence
  153. 53 yrs old female
  154. Male fisherman worked in seafood dept, 56 yrs old male died at Carroll Hospital Center.
  155. Female 65 years old, lyme advocate, lyme many years, stroke
  156. Male 56 yrs old male, lyme many years, avid golfer
  157. Female nurse, 50 yrs old battling Lyme disease and Breast Cancer for several challenging years.
  158. Female 31 yrs old, cause of death not listed on birth certificate. 2016
  159. Female 20 yrs old cause not listed but says passed after long battle with Lyme. 2016
  160. Female, 17 yrs old, suicide
  161. Male 71 passed away from complications of Lyme on obit.
  162. Male Age unknown, Baltimore suffered many years from Lyme. recently had blood clots in lungs and died in sleep.
  163. Female 37 brain cancer from Massachusetts
  164. Male, suicide 51 yrs old from New Brunswick
  165. Female, 55 passed away at home, nurse.
  166. Female, lung cancer listed as cause. Suffered many years of Lyme. Age unknown.
  167. Female, 29 yrs old from Texas, long battle with Lyme.
  168. Female, age unknown, Ankylosing Spondylitis
  169. Male, 56 yrs old from New York. Cause not listed.
  170. Male, age unknown, cardiac arrest
  171. Female, 58 ALS  from Ohio
  172. Male, 27 cause not listed from Michigan
  173. Male 35 died in sleep cardiac on obit says passed away from Lyme complications.
  174. Female, cause unknown and age unknown. Lyme Activist abroad
  175. Female. 18,  passed after battling Lyme and Mold for many years. Exact cause not listed.
  176. Female, 39 from Iowa passed at home from “natural causes.”
  177. Male, 52.  cause not listed. from Oklahoma.
  178. Female, from Europe age unknown, died from seizure.
  179. Female, 28 passed after 15 year battle with Lyme. From Canada
  180. Female, 40 died from sepsis.
  181. Female, 64  born Texas, cause not listed.
  182. Male, 50 yrs old, from NM cause not listed.
  183. Female, unknown age, battled Lyme and Mold
  184. Female from NY, many years of Lyme succumbed to cancer.
  185. Female, lyme many years then brain cancer. Age unknown.
  186. Female, 53 yrs old from NJ and NY passed away after several years of Lyme.
  187. Male, 50 yrs old from British Columbia after many years of Lyme disease.
  188. Female, unknown age, many years of Lyme then died from breast cancer. hair stylist.
  189. Male, 43 Wisconsin & Australia, died after long battle with Lyme.
  190. Female, 35, succumbed to her illnesses after contracting a chest infection and pneumonia after long battle with Lyme disease.
  191. Male, age unknown, died from Oklahoma City, organ failure from Lyme disease.
  192. Male, 53 from Missouri, cause not listed.
  193. Female from Australia, cause and age not known.
  194. Female, 57 cause not listed.
  195. Female from Australia  cause and age unknown
  196. Female, 25 her and boyfriend had Lyme, murder suicide. She was murdered.
  197. Female, 2 yr old, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  198. Female, 39 died after four year battle with Lyme. in arms of husband.
  199. Male, 69 bone cancer after long battle with Lyme.
  200. Female from TX age 55 cause not listed.
  201. Female, 58 died from Bourbon Virus.
  202. Male, 27 after many health issues.
  203. Male, organ failure 50 yrs old from PA.
  204. Female, 45 passed from Lyme disease complications from Ohio.
  205. Male, 45 after long battle with Lyme and Babesia from Pennsylvania
  206. Male, 55 dies from  died of liver and kidney failure after contracting babesiosis .
  207. Female, 70 of Virginia, cause not listed.
  208. Female, 62, physician ovarian cancer
  209. Female, 47 from Minnesota complications of Lyme disease
  210. Female, age unknown, brain cancer, from from Minnesota
  211. Male, 29 complications of Lyme. From PA.
  212. Male, age unknown, passed from Lyme and MSA.
  213. Male, age 58 from ND, Died from Lyme complications.
  214. Male, 76 dies in son’s arms after long battle with Lyme.
  215. Female, 44, lung cancer.
  216. Male, 29 after long battle with Lyme disease.
  217. Male, 55 from Wisconsin Lyme complications.
  218. Female, 66 from NM died from heart and lung issues.
  219. Female, 25 passed peacefully in hospice after long battle with Lyme.

Articles on Tick Related Deaths

How to Donate Tissues for Research

To learn more we need more research and to do the research, researchers need bodies. So if you are interested in donating your body to Lyme Disease research, please read this following post:

Guidelines for Brain and Tissue Donations for Lyme Patients


Please Visit the Lyme Memorial Here:

RIP Lyme Community Memorial

12 thoughts on “Is Lyme Disease Fatal?”

  1. Please let me know if Heather is still on earth? I want to be able to contact her and her family!

  2. If talking to those who have members who are near due to Lyme, please ask them to make sure that it says Secondary to Chronic Lyme Disease on their death certificates. That will help future generations to know how bad the Lyme epidemic really was / is.

    1. Google Dr Burascano’s lyme disease check list. It’s free. Print the 2 pages, check the boxes that apply. It is possible to diagnosis just from this. I have seen it done.

  3. My wife of 25 years will die from Lyme, babesiosis, Bartonella or rocky mountain spotted fever. We don’t have the means to save her. She has made me promise not to let them put anything other than a tick born illness on her death certificate. She wrote this poem and asked me to lay it below her late father’s friends names at the vietnam memorial in D.C. on mother’s day. Our daughter is so young but there isn’t much more we can do. I hope this poem gives someone strength she learned from her dad to keep fighting.

    Casualties of War

    None of us live forever were the words I would often hear.
    Words softly spoken from a man I held so dear.

    He taught me to be brave and stand up for what is right.
    He said don’t ever give up my child, never go down without a fight!

    Hard lessons he once learned just after high school prom.
    when he was drafted into the marine corps,
    destined for someplace they called Vietnam

    On a bus In the cover of darkness the first leg of his journey began
    Headed to Parris Island knowing he would soon become a man.

    The bus was filled with boys, Son and brothers just like he
    profoundly realizing what it meant to be American, to be free!

    Drill Sergeants tore him down as they yelled at him and screamed
    Now he’s just a number, rebuilt into a lean, mean, fighting machine.

    His innocence and youth would soon be long gone.
    His life forever changed when he landed in Vietnam

    He didn’t know the politics much less the reasons why
    Just forced to travel far away where he’d see so many die

    He had to pick up a gun and hit right where he aimed
    with the sole intent to kill a man, to wound him or even maim

    He had to kill his fellow man for reasons he didn’t know
    it was kill or be killed or in a body bag home he would go

    Death has its own smell, taste, sound and feel
    One that can break any man even ones made of steel

    “Were Fighting for their freedom!” so often it was said
    Tell that to a soldier that’s forced to count the dead

    When his time was finally over and at last he was sent home
    He was greeted at the airport by protesters and cruelly spit upon

    He learned to keep his mouth shut and made to feel ashamed
    so he never spoke about it because he felt he was to blame

    The flashbacks came so often as he would often see
    The faces of the people he killed, people just like he

    Agent orange had ravaged his body and as he prepared to die
    It was time to come to terms with all he’d done and try to understand why?

    It all became so clear It was for freedom that he fought
    He fought for the people of Vietnam as it was liberty they desperately sought

    If he had to do it again he wouldn’t change a thing
    He’d fight in a second to let freedom ring

    Now I’m in a war myself and one I’m too weak to win
    It’s red tape and bureaucracy that will certainly do me in.

    My body is now ravaged and gets weaker every day
    I’m not ready to give up yet but I see no other way

    I have private insurance but the doctors say I’m not sick
    I have four diseases that all come from a tick

    The treatments that I need I can’t afford to buy
    How do I explain to my young daughter that her mommy will soon die

    Do I send my daughter to college or buy medicines to save my life
    what will my family do without their mother and their wife?

    I lay this letter here in hopes that someone will see
    Please help all the others too weak to fight and suffer silently

    Now I must teach my daughter to be brave and stand for what’s right.
    Don’t ever give up my child, never go down without a fight!

    A war cannot be fought without casualties
    Never take for granted that freedom isn’t free

    Heather Burton Reynolds, Mothers Day 2017

    1. Heather,
      I don’t know at what point you are, but please look at, these are what I am using and seeing a big difference. Know of others who are also getting better using what they have to offer.

        1. Hi Pamela, This is Lisa Hilton, the admin of this site. I forwarded this to Heather’s husband. So if someone named, Kevin reaches out to you, it’s Heather’s husband.

          1. thank you so much lisa, i have a dr friend who has some answers! i hope it is not too late! everryone deserves a chance to life…. my motto. xoxo

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