On 22 April 1802, The Timescarried the following notice:
On Sunday morning [18 April], while writing in his study, died, at the Priory near Derby, to which he had lately removed, DR. DARWIN, without the least previous indisposition [our italics]. This Gentleman justly held a high rank in the literary world, by his writings of the Botanic Garden, Zoonomia, Phytologia, &c.
However, he had had previous health problems, and this cursory account of the death of Erasmus Darwin, F.R.S. (1731–1802) cannot be accepted at face value. The idea that Erasmus suffered a sudden cardiac death, probably with an ischaemic basis, has been accepted by subsequent biographers. However, evidence from recently available manuscripts is not consistent with this view.