Benjamin Franklin died of pleurisy on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Penn. The condition is caused by the swelling of the lung and chest linings. It is a complication of bacterial infections, such as pneumonia.
Although generally healthy throughout his life, Franklin did have respiratory problems, gout and bladder stones, especially as he got older. He particularly struggled with a bladder stone that became so big that it could not be removed surgically. Instead, he tried to be conscious of his diet, avoided drinking and exercised to prevent the stone from getting larger. In the later stages of his life, Franklin used opium to dull the pain.