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This category (and, within its own specific purpose, the analogous Category:Year of birth unknown) is intended for placement in biographical entries about deceased individuals, primarily from antiquity (although, in some cases, reaching into the 19th century) whose year of death is lost to history and never likely to be known. "Year of death unknown" will also be applicable to some individuals from the less-remote past whose varying degrees of notability were sufficient to justify a biographical entry, but whose deaths occurred in times and under circumstances which precluded the recording and/or preservation of historical records.

In the case of contemporary or recent figures whose year of death is presumed to have been recorded and could be researched, please use Category:Year of death missing.

This category and categories Date of death unknown and Date of death missing (each of the "Date" categories indicates the presence of the year of death, but the absence of the month and day) are intended to be mutually exclusive. NOTE: Article-page categories which delineate the specific decade or century of the pertinent individual's death, such as Category:1970s deaths or Category:11th-century deaths, specify additional data and are not intended as substitutes for "Year of death unknown", which is an all-encompassing category.

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