While it makes sense that getting stabbed in the belly by a lightsaber would be fatal in some way (there are some rather important organs in there), it doesn't really make sense that Qui-Gon died within minutes of getting gutchecked by Maul. He wasn't exactly bleeding all over the floor and his brain/heart/lungs/other immediately critical organs didn't look like they got hit; even his diaphram must have been fine if he could still talk.

Or maybe Qui-Gon is a species that holds their important guts in their gut?

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    Someone stabbed in the mid-torso with a sword can take DAYS to die. – Omegacron Mar 5 '15 at 19:48
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    @Omegacron - "CAN" - they can also die very quickly. – PoloHoleSet Apr 17 '17 at 19:54
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    Gets stabbed in the stomach: Dies instantly. Gets cut in half, falls down the trash pipes for miles and miles and even end up in another planet: Survives. Star Wars has always been consistent, uh? – tilley31 Jan 7 '20 at 20:48
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    @tilley31 Don't forget that they belong to different species. Darth Maul can have his kidney in his head. – Harley Quinn Jan 7 '20 at 21:46

According to Wookieepedia, Qui-Gon is human, so it's not that. Now then, I watched the the scene again to check where he got stabbed. It took him about 2:30 to die, which is actually fairly long. My first thought was that the stab might have been high enough to nick his heart. It certainly wasn't down in his intestines. Then it occurred to me that the strike severed his spine. But it's low enough in the spine that that alone probably wouldn't have killed him directly. Finally, I thought it would have severed his diaphragm. But if so, he would probably have expired sooner, and either way he wouldn't be able to implore Obi-Wan to teach Anakin. But I'm quite certain it wasn't below the diaphragm, so I have to say that the blade nicked his heart (and lungs and spine), not enough to kill him instantly, but enough to kill him after two and a half minutes.

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    While I fee that the whole Died in Your Arms Tonight trope (tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DiedInYourArmsTonight) should die a horrible death, could it be that Qui-Gon used the Force to hang on just long enough to pass the message to Obi-Wan? – HNL Feb 12 '12 at 1:42
  • But, in the movie Reservoir Dogs, the same wound, took the character the entire movie to die, and he wasn't even a Jedi. – Itay Moav -Malimovka Jan 7 '20 at 20:36
  • @ItayMoav-Malimovka a magic plasma sword does a lot more damage than a bullet. – OrangeDog Jan 8 '20 at 14:05
  • @OrangeDog While whst u say about plama sword is correct. It also know that it cautherises the wound, which suppose to make the wounded live longer, especially if he is a Jedi. I mean, they also have some magic to resist the magic of the sword after all. – Itay Moav -Malimovka Jan 9 '20 at 3:13

There wouldn't have been much blood because Phantom Menace was a PG movie. Plus we've seen that the extreme heat of a lightsaber blade cauterizes wounds.

Still, looking at a circulatory system chart I see that the superior mesenteric artery runs right down the middle of the torso and feeds everything below the rib cage, which means it carries a lot of blood. Put a hole in that and you would bleed out into your belly in a hurry, even if there isn't a hole leading outside the body. Also, if a lightsaber is hot enough to cauterize wounds, it's plenty hot enough to boil bodily fluids. Darth Maul left the saber blade in Qui-Gon a few seconds before pulling it out, so besides the carbonized guts we can add live steam parboiling Qui-Gon's innards. Imagine someone taking a white-hot billet of steel out of a furnace and ramming it in one side of your body and out the other. The wonder of it is that Qui-Gon lived for as long as he did. Consider what happened to solid metal doors when Qui-Gon rammed his lightsaber into them:

qui-gon pierces the door

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    "One important note about lightsaber wounds is that they rarely bled profusely, even when a limb had been severed. This is because the energy blade cauterized the wound as it passed, and thus even a severe wound did not tend to bleed heavily." - And the boiling point is valid as the organs falling into the blade would be 90% liquid and would burn / evaporate back into the body. No to mention any small amounts of blood that did make it in contact with the blade. I think the act of holding the lightsaber in the body would cause significantly more damage than is portrayed in the movie. – rlemon Feb 12 '12 at 15:43
  • See the point about lightsabers in water / rain for citations about steam. starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lightsaber#Cutting_power – rlemon Feb 12 '12 at 15:44
  • @rlemon - tell that to Ponda Baba ;) – NKCampbell Jan 7 '20 at 22:16

The fact of how he met his end has been established. I think we should also answer why it took him so long to die. Qui-Gon was a reputed practitioner of the breath control technique. The idea being you can lower your body's need for oxygen and so forth (by extension they can also control their biological functions. Heart rate and so forth). Presumably, Qui-Gon used this technique so he could survive long enough to deliver his final request to Obi-Wan. Reputedly some masters had perfected the technique so they could survive days without air. Unfortunately as the books demonstrated, Qui-Gon wasn't so skilled.

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