Ernest Hemingway Commits Suicide

Three months later, at home in Ketchum, Mary "found Hemingway holding a shotgun". When his personal physician Dr. Saviers arrived, he was sedated and admitted to the Sun Valley hospital; from there he was returned to the Mayo for more shock treatments. He was released in late June and arrived home in Ketchum on June 30. Two days later, in the early morning hours of July 2, 1961, Hemingway "quite deliberately" shot himself with his favorite shotgun.

Other members of Hemingway's immediate family also committed suicide: his father Clarence Hemingway; his sister Ursula; and his brother Leicester. During his final years, Hemingway's behavior was similar to his father's before he committed suicide. Hemingway's father may have had the genetic disease haemochromatosis, in which the inability to metabolize iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration. Medical records made available in 1991 confirm that Hemingway's haemochromatosis had been diagnosed early in 1961. Added to his physical ailments was the additional problem that Hemingway had been a heavy drinker for most of his life.

Hemingway spent the first half of 1961 fighting his depression and paranoia, seeing enemies at every turn and threatening suicide on several more occasions. On the morning of July 2, 1961 Hemingway rose early, as he had his entire adult life, selected a shotgun from a closet in the basement, went upstairs to a spot near the entrance-way of the house and shot himself in the head. It was little more than two weeks until his 62nd birthday.

Ernest Hemingway was found dead of a shotgun wound in the head at his home here today.

His wife, Mary, said that he had killed himself accidentally while cleaning the weapon.

Mr. Hemingway, whose writings won him a Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer Prize, would have been 62 years old July 21.

Frank Hewitt, the Blaine County Sheriff, said after a preliminary investigation that the death "looks like an accident." He said, "There is no evidence of foul play."