The purpose of a death announcement is to notify others that someone has died. It might also be referred to as a death notice.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Should You Include in a Death Announcement Email?
- Sample Death Announcement Email Subject Lines
- Sample Death Announcement Emails
A death announcement is different from an obituary in several important ways.
Typically, a death announcement comes quickly after a person's passing. You might receive a death announcement email within the hour or day of the event taking place. An obituary, on the other hand, takes longer to write. Obituaries may be published within days of a death as opposed to hours.
Death announcements usually do not have many details. You might learn that a person passed at a particular time and place. You may also learn about the general cause of death. Most of the time, a death notice will include the line, "We will inform you about details of the service as soon as they have been made."
An obituary, on the other hand, tells the time, date, and place of death. It also includes the service details and biographical information about the person. Obituaries also typically include the names of the survivors.
Let's learn more about how to deliver the news that someone has died. This task should be done with the utmost consideration of a person's feelings. After all, many people remember the moment they heard of a loved one's death. Consider carefully if an email is the best way to communicate such news.
What Should You Include in a Death Announcement Email?
Death announcements are written in a sorrowful tone. Even though the purpose of the message is to report this news, do it gently.
Besides announcing a death, a death notice may also include the date, time, and place of when the passing occurred. It might also include the general cause of death.
If the details for the funeral service are available, you might also add this to the message. You might also tell the recipients how they can help the immediate family members during their time of need.
Carefully consider your words when you write a death announcement. Simple is better. In an effort to add more compassion to the message, some people may step over the bounds of what is appropriate.
For instance, do not imply that it was a "relief" that the person died. Even if the person had a long battle with cancer or suffered from health issues all their life, it is not appropriate to discuss the "lifting of a burden."
Hopefully, you are not tasked with writing death announcement emails very often. For that reason, we would like to help you with this task by giving you some ideas on getting started. You might also find it helpful to download a death announcement template. Of course, use these examples as general guidelines.
Sample Death Announcement Email Subject Lines
Is your cursor blinking at you as you try to come up with the right words for your email's subject line? To come up with a subject line, try to put yourself in the shoes of the recipient.
You would want to see a subject line that indicated that there was important news within the email's message, but you may not want to see the actual announcement of the death before you open the email.
Before giving you examples of subject lines for an email announcement of a family member's death (written to other family members), you might carefully consider if this would be the appropriate way to share such news.
Most people would prefer to be told of a loved one's death face to face or over the phone. Receiving the message that your grandpa died through email may seem too impersonal. Most people would prefer a text message instead of an email.
- To Our Family
- I'm sorry to have to tell you this way
- Heartbreaking News
- (Broken Heart Emoji)
Again, before sending an email, consider carefully whether an email is the best way to share the news of a death. After all, some people do not check their email often, and a death announcement is what most people would consider as time-sensitive news.
- Please Read
- Sara Smith
- Sad news about a friend
- I thought you would want to know
- I wish I could give you this news in person
For clients, colleagues, or professional connections
Death announcements by email are typically used in business or other professional organizations. At the same time, if your organization is small, consider having a stand-up meeting to share the news of the passing of an employee, client, colleague, or some other professional connection. At the very least, consider sharing the information privately with the two or three people who worked closest to the deceased.
If you have to send an email, here are some sample subject lines.
- Sad Announcement
- Important News - Please Read Immediately
- A sad loss for Webber and Webber
- A Notice from the Paul Richter Family
- Smith Corporation Mourns the Loss of a Valued Staff Member
For strangers, companies, or other impersonal relationships
Many of the tasks you will need to complete after the death of a loved one may require a face-to-face visit or a phone call. In some instances, you might be able to inform companies of your loved one's death through email. Here are some examples of how to handle the subject line. In some cases, you might not need to mention the death at all.
- Cancellation Service Request
- Sara Smith
- Death Announcement for Michael Scott
- Assistance needed in closing my dad's account
- Closing Account
Sample Death Announcement Emails
You have written the subject line for your email, but now you are ready to write the text of the email where you announce the death. Consider your words carefully as you write a quick, heartfelt message about a person's passing.
Sample email for family
This is an incredibly difficult email to write. I'm sorry to tell you that Grandma Jane passed away this morning. I wish I could have called each of you to share the news, but I simply cannot talk on the phone right now. Please forgive me for sharing this news in such an impersonal way.
Grandma passed away peacefully in her sleep. As you all know, her heart had been failing for months, so her death was not a surprise.
Wanda and I will be going to the funeral home tomorrow morning at 9 to plan the services. We will email the details as soon as they are available.
While this news is hard to hear, please remember that Grandma Jane loved her family more than anything. Even though we will miss her every day, I am happy that she is now with Dad in Heaven.
Sample email for close friends
I'm so sorry to tell you this through email, but Rob Robertson passed away last night. He was receiving treatment for skin cancer, but it had spread throughout his body. He began receiving services through hospice last Tuesday.
I know that you were all close to Rob and will want to attend the services. I'll tell you those details when they are announced.
If you are interested in starting a meal train for the family, let me know. I know that they will have many relatives traveling in for the services, and I'm sure they would appreciate the food.
We all have many wonderful memories of Rob. Let's get together soon to toast our fun-loving friend.
Sample email for clients
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of your account manager, Juan Cortez. Juan passed away on Tuesday as a result of a tragic motorcycle accident in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Please keep the Cortez family in your thoughts and prayers.
We will communicate additional information regarding your account as soon as we are able. Until then, we appreciate your understanding and patience.
Sample email to staff
Today I have the sad task of reporting the death of one of our valued staff members. Cindy Howard, the head of the accounting department, died yesterday due to a fall off a ladder. Cindy leaves behind a husband (Mark) and three children (Noah, Trevor, and Gweneth).
Cindy has been a member of the Smith and Son family since 1998. She was a dedicated employee and friend to many. She was known for her amazing sugar cookies that she would leave in the breakroom each holiday for all to enjoy.
We will let you know the details for the service as soon as the family provides them to us. Every staff member will have the opportunity to attend.
Sample email to a boss
I wanted to let you know that our daughter, Jane Smith, passed away suddenly this morning as she was preparing breakfast. The cause of her death is still unknown.
Jane loved her job with Beds and More and thought of many of her co-workers as good friends. Since we don't have the contact information for the staff members, would you mind informing them of this sad news?
We will connect with you over the next couple of days to provide you with the funeral arrangements.
Sample email to organizations, companies, and groups the deceased was affiliated with
Many of you are familiar with Frank Jones, the President of Minnesota Bank and Trust. We are sad to inform you that Mr. Jones died yesterday afternoon. Please keep the family in your thoughts.
Move Quickly but With Care
You don't want to be accused of "sitting" on the news of a person's death. Whether you are informing a family member, friend, or fellow employee, it would be better to hear the information directly from you instead of reading it on Facebook or over the news.
At the same time, make sure that the death announcement you write is written in a compassionate tone. If you are writing to a large organization, you might also want to make sure that the person is identified in several different ways, such as the full name, job title, and location.
If you are not comfortable with your writing skills, this piece might be something that you would want to run past others before hitting send. After all, once the email is read, there's no way to retrieve it.