The Legacy of Jon Underwood

Jon Underwood was the founder of Death Cafe, a movement that brings people together over tea and cake to talk about death and mortality and the finitude of life.
He pioneered a breaking down of the taboo surrounding death in order to allow people to experience life more fully. 

Jon died suddenly on June 25, 2017 from a brain hemorrhage caused by undiagnosed leukemia. His sudden death has

been a terrible shock for his family, wife and young children but the fact that he dedicated his life to really facing death and living fully in each moment offers some sense of relief for his loved ones.

It also offers something to us. 
The work of the Death Cafe has stretched far and wide across the globe with over 1000 Death Cafes in more than a dozen countries. Jon's dedication to this movement has helped shift the culture around death and dying, promoting openness and empowerment when it comes to death and subsequently, life.

You know you have a certain time left, and then the question is, What is important for me to do in that time? That’s different for everyone, so talking about death, for me at least, is the ultimate prioritization exercise.
— Jon Underwood in a BBC interview in 2014.

The Death Cafe movement will continue to grow with Jon's sister Jools Barksy and mother Sue Barsky Reid taking the reigns and committing to Jon's vision for the movement.

In 2014 a group of Death Cafe hosts from Australia had the privilege of talking with John about Death Cafe as part of the lead up to Dying to Know Day. Our goal was to encourage D2KDay hosts to consider hosting a Death Cafe. He was very generous with his time and we were so grateful for his support in the formative years of #D2KDay. 


A crowdfunding initiative has been set up to assist his wife and children as they find their feet and adjust to life without Jon.


We have been moved and inspired by the work of Jon through the Death Cafe movement and we encourage you to contribute in any way you can.