A more general question is: Can a witch or wizard die a natural death as long as her/his horcruxes exist?

Looking for canonical answer only. Rowling's interviews etc are welcome, too.

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    The problem is the poor definition of 'Death'; JKR seems to be using the transition of the spirit/soul/whatever to a different realm as the definition; if that's the case, no -- the spirit can't move on while it is incomplete, and the torn sections are stuck to physical objects. But that doesn't really mean the wizard with a Horcrux is alive, either.. At least, no real form of life; just tied to the world and hoping for a way to resume a living form.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 18:50
  • 2
    I've always thought of horcruxes as keeping your soul alive, since that is what is being stored in the horcruxes. When normal people die, both their body and soul die, but when Voldemort attacked Harry only his body died. This means that body of a person with horcruxes can die. So it makes sense that Voldemort would age and eventually die a natural death, but he could get a new body back like he did in the fourth book. So his body can (and will) die, but his soul will stay alive, allowing his body to "resurrect."
    – twoerd
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 18:55

3 Answers 3


No, they cannot, nor can Voldemort:

‘Well, you split your soul, you see,’ said Slughorn, ‘and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged.’

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - pages 464-465 - Bloomsbury - chapter 23, Horcruxes

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    Horcruxes keep one from dying, no matter the cause. If Voldemort's Horcruxes were intact and he got a bad case of Dragon Pox, which might have killed any other person, Voldemort would continue to survive as long as those Horcruxes still existed. I have never heard from JKR in an interview, or read any supplemental information on Harry Potter that would even suggest a natural death while one has Horcruxes is possible. Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 18:49
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    I suppose his body might have succumbed to the Dragon Pox, but he might have become 'undead', as he did after the first AK rebounded onto him.
    – Möoz
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 4:26
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    I was going to ask a somewhat related question but SE showed me this question. So I'll just comment here. The quote you cite implies if the body is destroyed. But what I want to know (and I don't think there is a canon answer unless Rowling has said somewhere) is what about old age? What happens if he was very old, let's say older than Dumbledore, and he dies of age? Then what? The Horcrux remains earthbound but what happens if he is then restored? He'll be at the same problem again unless his new 'age' is e.g. that of the oldest (= when he was youngest) Horcrux.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 15:53
  • It is not actually an answer to the question above, namely, will the body itself succumb with age even if the soul is earthbound.
    – se0808
    Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 7:59

The purpose of a Horcrux is to tie the soul to this world. Even if the body dies, the soul would not move on to the next plane of existence, as Harry found out when Voldemort killed him. If the body is intact, then the body is restored to its natural state. If the body is destroyed, the soul is left to wonder as a ghoul or specter, as Voldemort was until Quirrell found him.

Since it was not explained, it leaves two possibilities to what happens to aged or sick Horcrux users. Either the body gives way and they are left as a malignant spirit, or the body continues to weaken until the spirit is bound into a feeble state, essentially a corpse. In any case, as we saw in the Goblet of Fire, a new body can be created using magic to which the original (divided) spirit can then be bound to. For all intents and purposes, a Hocrux user is as immortal as the Horcrux he or she creates. Strong and able bodied is a different matter, as immortality here means bound to the earth.


No, Voldemort could not have died a natural death while his horcruxes were intact. It is implied that he would have continued to become lich like with his disfigured body, wand shaped like a bone, and that horcruxes make a soul earth-bound.


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