The cause of John Hancock's death is not known. It is known, however, that he had gout and his health had been in decline several years before his death. He died at his home in 1793 at the age of 56 while still governor of Massachusetts.
Though John Hancock played a critical role in the organization of the colonies and the founding of the United States, he is most famous for his signature. It is difficult to miss John Hancock's signature when reviewing a copy of the Declaration of Independence. It is easily the most readable and recognizable one on the document. At the time of the signing, Hancock was the president of the Continental Congress. As such, he was the first to sign the document. Legend has it that Hancock signed his name so boldly because he wanted to make sure the King of England could read his name without glasses. To this day, the request to "put your John Hancock" on a document is a way of asking someone to sign it. Although Hancock had presidential aspirations when it was time to elect officials to govern the newly formed United States, he was defeated by a George Washington in the first presidential election.