The very first emperor of China died from pills, which he took in order to become immortal.
The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, reigned as the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty from 220 BC to 210 BC. Before he united China and became the emperor, he used to reign as the king of the state of Qin. He ruled over China up until his death.
Qin Shi Huang left a great legacy to the world. He was the one, who built the Great Wall of China, as well as a national road system and the famous mausoleum filled with his Terracotta Army. He was fascinated by the idea of becoming immortal, so he ordered his court physicians and alchemists to find a way to make an elixir for immortality. They eventually came up with the idea to start making mercury pills, which the emperor started taking believing they would help him become immortal. Of course, they didn’t. In fact, ironically, these pills were the reason behind his death.
The Chinese Prime Minister didn’t want the people of China to know that their first emperor had died, so he decided to keep it a secret until he brought Qin’s body back to the capital city of Xianyang. He came up with the idea to hide the smell of the emperor’s decomposing body by ordering a couple of carts with rotten fish to be carried in front of and behind the wagon containing Qin’s body. The Prime Minister and five or six more people were the only ones, who knew that the emperor was actually dead. They brought him food, changed his clothes and pretended they were talking to him in order to fool the rest of the entourage. They kept this play going on for two months until they managed to transfer the emperor’s body back to the capital.