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Walter White isn't the first fictional character to get an obituary
A dapper Belgian detective beat him to it
 
The man, the legend, the completely made-up character, Hercule Poirot (played by David Suchet).
The man, the legend, the completely made-up character, Hercule Poirot (played by David Suchet). (ITV for Masterpiece)

Today, the Albuquerque Journal ran an obituary for Walter White, the fictional New Mexican anti-hero who recently met his end in Sunday's Breaking Bad finale. The obit was paid for by a fan group of the AMC show, who said they had grown so attached to the character that a formal announcement helped put some closure on White's five-series arc.

While this may seem like a unique situation for someone who existed for only entertainment purposes, Heisenberg is actually the second fictional character to get such a real-world honor. A dapper Belgian detective pioneered that meta niche nearly 40 years ago.

Hercule Poirot was one of crime writer Agatha Christie's most famous characters. The short, bald, mustachioed detective first popped up in Christie's 1920 novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. He went on to appear in more than 40 of the English author's novels, short stories, and compilations. Though Christie quickly grew tired of her main character — even calling him a "detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep" — she continued his storyline because the public adored him so.

But, finally, in 1975, the detective met the inevitable. Christie actually wrote Poirot's final case in the 1940s, but reportedly had the manuscript locked away for when the time was right. Curtains: Poirot's Last Case wasn't released in the U.S. until October, 1975, but The New York Times ran the character's obituary a few months earlier, on the front page of its August 6 paper:

Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective who became internationally famous, has died in England. His age was unknown. Mr. Poirot achieved fame as a private investigator after he retired as a member of the Belgian police force in 1904… At the end of his life, he was arthritic and had a bad heart. He was in a wheelchair often, and was carried from his bedroom to the public lounge at Styles Court, a nursing home in Essex, wearing a wig and false mustaches to mask the sings of age that offended his vanity. In his active days, he was always impeccably dressed. (New York Times)

To read the full obituary, go to the New York Times.

Walter White obituary courtesy of the Albuquerque Journal.

 
Lauren Hansen is the multimedia editor at TheWeek.com. A graduate of Kenyon College and Northwestern University, she started her career in arts publishing and has since worked at media outlets including the BBC and Frontline.

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