George Orwell’s death on 21 January 1950

Grave of George Orwell (1903-1950)

George Orwell’s grave in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire

George Orwell died of a massive hemorrhage of the lung in the early hours of Saturday January 21st 1950 at University College Hospital in London. Death came very quickly. Although his wife Sonia had been with him much of the preceding day, he died alone.

Orwell had asked in his will of 18 January 1950, made just before he had expected to fly to Switzerland for treatment, that he be:

… buried (not cremated) according to the rights of the Church of England in the nearest convenient cemetery, and that there shall be placed over my grave a plain brown stone bearing the inscription, “Here lies Eric Arthur Blair born June 25th, 1903, died____ “

A funeral service, arranged by Malcolm Muggeridge, took place on January 26th at Christ Church, Albany Street, London, NW1, conducted by the Reverend W. V. C. Rose. Later that day Orwell was buried in the churchyard of All Saints, Sutton Courtenay, Berkshire, the arrangements having been made by David Astor.

Fredric Warburg wrote to Robert Giroux on the 26th: “This morning I attended the funeral service for George Orwell, one of the most melancholy occasions in my life, and feel not only that a good author and a good friend has passed from this list but that English literature has suffered an irreparable loss. I am sure that you and your colleagues feel in the same way.”

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See also: Birth of George Orwell on 25 June 1903.

Source: CW20-3720

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