The Associated Press

NEW YORK--Former President Nixon isn't the first chief executive to suffer a major stroke.

He's the sixth of 42 U.S. presidents to have a stroke or a suspected stroke, the result of what University of Southern California neurologist Shri Mishra calls a "killing job."

Presidents have had strokes at the 8 percent to 10 percent in the general population, Mishra said. The primary cause is stress.

Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president, is believed to have died of a stroke on July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke in 1919, after the Senate vetoed U.S. entry into his beloved League of Nations. He died two years later.

Warren G. Harding died of a stroke in 1923, two days after suffering a heart attack that was misdiagnosed as indigestion.

Franklin D. Roosevelt suffered a stroke in 1945, collapsing at his desk at a Georgia retreat after saying: "I have a terrific headache." He died a few hours later.

Dwight Eisenhower had a stroke several years after leaving office. He later died of heart failure in 1969.

Historically, chief excutives have poor exercise and dietary habits, but that has changed in recent years.

Mishra plans to present a paper on presidential strokes at the May 3 meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Washington, D.C. Read Next Article