In the JoJo universe, it’s not unusual for characters to die. And it’s not just limited to bit players—even the main protagonists can be wiped out by a powerful foe or get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Today, we’re here to talk about the saddest deaths over the course of the series—beloved characters who were taken from this mortal coil too soon, whose death scenes were expertly written and directed to wring as many tears as possible out of our betrayed hearts. Grab some tissues and join us...
5. Jonathan Joestar
- Part: Phantom Blood
- Death: Episode 9
Back in the ‘80s when Phantom Blood was first published (and even still today), it was basically unheard of for an author to kill their protagonist. After all, how would the story continue without a familiar face to lead it? So when Jonathan died protecting Erina and an unknown baby from Dio’s final attack, it was especially devastating because nobody knew how JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure could go on after that. The earnest and gentlemanly Jonathan was gone, his last moments spent tenderly holding Dio’s head in remembrance of their brotherly bond. We’re glad Joseph picked up the torch to continue the story, because otherwise this would’ve been such a sad note to end on!
4. Caesar Antonio Zeppeli
- Part: Battle Tendency
- Death: Episode 20
Caesar’s famous death scene directly ties in with Jonathan’s, since the only reason Caesar rushed to face Wamuu alone was that Joseph angered him by insulting the sacrifices their grandfathers made in the past. Without any backup, the bubble warrior isn’t quite strong enough to put Wamuu down for good and takes the full brunt of the Pillar Man’s assault.
With his last breath, Caesar encases the stolen antidote for Joseph’s poison in a bubble of his own blood before he’s crushed by a piece of the collapsing building. The anime’s choice of mournful Italian opera music makes Joseph and Lisa Lisa’s reactions to his death all the more poignant, especially Joseph’s grief-wracked scream as he realizes that he indirectly led his best friend to his own grave.
3. Leone Abbacchio
- Part: Golden Wind
- Death: Episode 28
Golden Wind has one of the highest body counts of any JoJo part, but up until episode 28, it had mostly been populated by villains. So when Abbacchio is suddenly killed by King Crimson while searching for a vital clue that will reveal the boss’ identity, it’s a shocking reminder that Giorno and co. are constantly in danger of ending up just like the line of corpses they’ve left behind.
The team’s reactions are heartbreaking, from Narancia’s desperate denial to Giorno’s horrified realization that his powers won’t help to Bruno’s barely maintained professionalism as the leader. Abbacchio himself realizes that he’s dead when the police officer in his dream turns out to be his own partner who died because of Abbacchio’s mistake. But in the end, his partner forgives him and ushers him into the afterlife as the team moves forward.
2. Gyro Zeppeli
- Part: Steel Ball Run
- Death: Chapter 84
With that surname, readers knew from the very beginning that Gyro was doomed to die at some point, but it still doesn’t make his eventual demise at the hands of President Valentine any easier to handle. Gyro gets so tantalizingly close to defeating the nigh-invincible D4C: Love Train with his infinite Spin technique, but one tiny miscalculation weakens his attack and Valentine survives. With his power spent, Gyro succumbs to his wounds and falls limply to the ground.
What makes Gyro’s death especially sad is that it’s so anticlimactic. This larger-than-life man who dragged Johnny out of his depression and risked his life to save an innocent boy in his home country from execution didn’t deserve such a cruel fate. If he had to die, he should’ve been a heroic martyr, not the victim of a tragic mistake. But even though he couldn’t take out the president on his own, Gyro’s sacrifice gives Johnny the dark determination to finish the job once and for all.
1. Made in Heaven’s Final Victims
- Part: Stone Ocean
- Death: Chapters 154-155
Stone Ocean’s ending is a bloodbath on par with even the grisliest Game of Thrones episodes, and it’s all because of Pucci’s evolved Stand, Made in Heaven. Now that he has full control over the ability to speed up time, there’s almost nothing Jolyne’s group can do to defeat him. Jotaro desperately spams his time stop technique to catch up to the priest, but before he can land the finishing blow, Pucci launches knives at Jolyne! Jotaro abandons his attack to save his daughter, leaving him vulnerable enough for Made in Heaven to kill him, Hermes, and Anasui in one fatal blow.
Witnessing the demise of not only Jolyne’s friends, but also Jotaro Kujo—the stoic hero and face of the franchise who’s been a major player in three different parts—is almost too shocking for words. Jolyne herself dies one chapter later, leaving only Emporio as the last line of defense against Pucci. This is truly the end of an era for the Joestar family, but at least their alternate universe counterparts carry on their spirits in Steel Ball Run and Jojolion.
Other important deaths like those of Kakyoin, Iggy, Narancia, and Bruno are also beautifully tragic in both manga and anime forms. We didn’t know them for long, but we’ll remember them forever.
What did you think of our list? What do you think are the saddest deaths in the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!