The 10 Strangest Deaths in the Bullring

Death is part of the bullfighting culture, sometimes for a man and usually for a bull.  At times, however, truly bizarre incidents have occurred as these 10 situations from around the globe, each of which smack of the uncanny.

1. Manuel Granero

In 1922, Manuel Granero was the rage of Spain, though only 20 at the time of his passing when he made the parade in Madrid alongside De la Rosa and Lalanda. He had been plagued with nightmares where he saw himself gored through the face by a large gray bull and on this afternoon it happened. Tossed against the fence as in another bit of irony he performed the “pass of death” with the muleta, he was pinned by the wooden stirrup surrounding the ring and unable to escape, was gored just as he dreamed. The horn entered his eye socket and into the brain, which killed him on the spot.

2. El Sargento

This incident happened in Peru where El Sargento was tossed while working with the big capote and the bull stepped on his hand. The infirmary did not even have the antibiotic needed to clean the wound and thinking little of this; the matador bandaged his injured limb and went on. Tetanus developed and he passed away from this injury that should have been minor, caused from lacerated fingers where the unsanitary hoof stepped on him.

3. Gil Chacon

A young Spanish novillero, Chacon died a death from right out of a Final Destination movie as he was tossed and impaled himself on his own sword.

4. Bocanegra

Bocanegra was watching a bullfight in a Spanish ring and saw the young novices were having extreme difficulty with the bulls they faced. He asked permission of the plaza officials to get a cape, enter the ring in street clothes and help position he bulls for them. He did so and met his date with destiny. The animals proved too difficult, even for him. He also found himself taking flight for the safety of the wooden fence, but the bull beat him to it and delivered a massive goring from which he died. Thus, he was killed in an event that was not his own.

5. Julio Aparici

Julio Aparici was a Spanish matador gored while placing banderillas and   the injury should not have been fatal but the injury developed a nasty infection and the ill-fated matador died. An autopsy revealed a small piece of the pant leg from the suit of lights that had been torn by the horn remained within the wound, which festered to the point of causing gangrene.

6. Paco Aparici

The brother of Julio Aparici vowed revenge on bulls everywhere for what they did to his brother and for whatever reason took the red and gold costume Julio wore the day he was killed and had it repaired, as well as cleaned. It was while wearing the same suit his brother had worn before, that he also took a mortal wound while placing the sword. The unlucky costume was worn by no one else, ever again and now may be seen at the bullfighting museum in Valencia.

7. Carnicerito

A brave and reckless Mexican torero that came to Europe on the advice of his good friend, Manolete, was heartbroken when Manolete died in 1947 from a massive leg wound in Linares, Spain. Weeks after Manolete’s passing, Carnicerito was gored in the same part of his body while appearing in Portugal and was somehow convinced he was cursed to follow his dead friend in death. “Watch me,” he babbled. “I am dying like Manolete.” Indeed he did. In his final moments, he even mimicked the last phrases shuttered by his deceased friend in Linares, claiming he too, could not see though his eyes were open. He then called out to his beloved native Mexico and died.

8. Nacional

Nacional died in a Spanish bullring, but not on the sand. While watching a bullfight as a spectator, he became embattled with a man sitting next to him over the pros or cons of the man before them in the ring. Insults were exchanged and the torero was hit over the head with a bottle. Surprisingly, this matador ended up taken to jail as the instigator of the fight and there, where he was believed to be drunk and sleeping off the effects of alcohol, the blow to his head proved fatal.

9. El Cano

Cano was a brave, but temperamental Spanish torero and it was his undoing. He was at home recovering from a major leg wound, when an argument with family members took place. He arose, intent on fighting, without any thought to his goring, which had not yet healed. As he placed pressure on his injured limb and stepped forward to swing with his fist, the wound hemorrhaged savagely and he bled out before a doctor could be sent for.

10. Curro Rivera

The beloved Mexican matador who also had great success in Spain, including one tremendous afternoon where he, Andres Vazquez and Linares all scored magnificent triumphs on a glorious Madrid afternoon, retired from the ring,  but felt he would make a comeback. Training with small animals on his bull ranch, in preparation or a return to the plaza de toros, he overexerted himself. Though he was only in his 40s, inherited heart problems that had not been checked took their toll. The matador clutched his chest and died from  a heart attack.