Architecture and Tourism: How and at what age did the architect Antoni Gaudí die?
Antoni Gaudí, born on June 25, 1852 in Reus, is one of our most recognized and international figures.
His unique and groundbreaking style has transformed architecture and influenced generations and generations of architects. Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, was the city where he left the bulk of his work, with buildings as iconic as the Sagrada Família Basilica, La Pedrera or the Bellesguard Tower.
Seven of his works are listed as World Heritage by Unesco and his legacy attracts thousands of tourists to Barcelona every year. However, many people do not know information about his life and also about his tragic end: How and at what age did Gaudí die?
Death of Gaudí
Antoni Gaudí was 73 years old on the afternoon of Monday, June 7, 1926. At 6:05 p.m., the famous architect was heading to the church of Sant Felip Neri, where he used to go to pray. His faith had inspired him to lead an ascetic way of life, characterized by the simplicity of his meals and clothing, and habits such as daily walks (up to ten kilometers) or the practice of fasting.
At the moment when he was about to cross the Gran Via between Carrer Bailèn and Girona, he stood in the tracks of the tram that went from Passeig de Gràcia to Plaça de Tetuan. He saw a streetcar approaching and reflexively backed away, with the misfortune of being hit by another streetcar that was traveling in the opposite direction at the time.
The tram hit him on his right side, particularly affecting his abdomen and head. He fell to the ground badly injured, but no one stopped to help him, mistaking him for a beggar. Gaudí’s clothes were often worn and frayed, with safety pins instead of buttons, his shoes were old, and his feet were wrapped in strips of fabric. And above all, he did not have any documentation to be able to recognize him.
Only two people helped him: Antonio Roig and Antonio Noria. Both men tried to ask for help from several taxis to transport the injured to the hospital, but none stopped. The situation was resolved when Ramón Pérez, a civil guard, approached the place and, imposing his authority, forced a taxi driver to take them to the nearest dispensary, the one located at 37 Ronda de Sant Pere Street.
How did Gaudí die?
According to the witnesses of the time, when Gaudí entered the nursing home he was still conscious and was able to give his name to the doctor who assisted him. Due to the seriousness of his condition, the doctor requested his transfer to the Hospital de la Santa Creu.
“My God, my God!”: his last words
His last words in the midst of confusion and agony were, according to witnesses: “My God, my God!”
Once at the hospital, he was directed to Dr. Homs’ trauma room, where he remained until the next day, when he was moved to a room. His condition was serious, he suffered from a concussion with a possible skull fracture and several broken ribs.
On Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 June, he passed away unconscious in his room and finally on the afternoon of Thursday 10 at 5:08 p.m., surrounded by his friends and associates, he died at the age of 73.
His body, shrouded in the black habit of the confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows, was exposed in the doctor’s room as a burning chapel.
He was buried in the chapel of La nostra Senyora del Carmen, in the crypt of the Sagrada Família, on Saturday, June 12. His last farewell, carried out with great simplicity as he had expressed that it was his wish in his will, was accompanied by large crowds who wanted to see him off. On his tombstone, we find an inscription in Latin:
“Antoni Gaudí Cornet. From Reus. Born 74 years ago, a man of exemplary life and excellent architect, author of the admirable work of this temple, he died pitifully in Barcelona on June 10, 1926. Here the ashes of such a great man await the resurrection of the dead . QEPD»