The Dragon Ball series is no stranger to killing off and resurrecting its characters. With 444 episodes in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z alone, along with countless spin-offs and movies, it’s only natural that our favorite Saiyan, Son Goku, got in on the fun.
Despite his incredible power and strength, Goku has actually died a surprising amount of times. While the nature of the Dragon Ball series means that death is rarely permanent, the death of our protagonist is still always shocking and impactful.
So just how many times has Goku died?
As it turns out, that’s a pretty tricky question to answer. Canonically, Goku only dies twice. But series like Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Super, and Dragon Ball: Online throw in alternate timelines and parallel universes that result in Goku meeting his end.
Not only that, but some of Goku’s deaths involve some semantics to determine whether they ‘count’.
Luckily, we’ve compiled all of our favorite Saiyan’s deaths in this handy list. Not only will we cover Goku’s two canon deaths, but also some of his non-canon demises too.
Infinite Deaths In Alternate Universes
So let’s get this sticking point out of the way first. Dragon Ball Z establishes the existence of an infinite number of alternate times. This theoretically means that an infinite number of alternate Gokus have died in addition to the two canon deaths in the series.
Whether you also want to consider these deaths canon or not comes down to personal preference, but because these weren’t the Goku that we know and love, we aren’t counting these as Canon Goku Deaths.
First Canon Death: Shot By Piccolo To Defeat Raditz
In the first few episodes of Dragon Ball Z, Goku is forced to sacrifice himself to defeat his long-lost brother, Raditz.
Outmatched during the fight, Goku puts Raditz in a full-nelson headlock. This holds Raditz in place for long enough for Piccolo to charge up his Special Beam Cannon and shoot him.
Unfortunately, because of the beam’s incredible power, it pierces right through Raditz as well as through Goku, killing them both.
While it wasn’t long before his friends used the Dragon Balls to wish Goku back to life, the sudden death of this seemingly-invincible character was shocking, to say the least.
Second Canon Death: Sacrificed Himself To Defeat Cell
Cell was one of the strongest threats in the whole of Dragon Ball Z, and Goku was once again outmatched. When it looked like Cell was about to defeat Goku, Gohan went Super Saiyan 2 and overwhelmed Cell.
But before Gohan could finish him off, Cell started to self-destruct.
To save the earth and his friends, Goku teleported himself and Cell to King Kai’s planet. The resulting explosive blast from Cell then killed Goku, as well as Bubbles, Gregory, and King Kai.
After Goku sacrificed himself to defeat Cell, it took 7 years for him to be resurrected.
Aside from two deaths in the canon timeline, Goku has also perished in subsequent series, alternate timelines, and in parallel universes. There have even been deaths that were so temporary that it’s hard to say whether Goku was even dead. But here are the other times Goku bit the dust.
Assassinated By Hit
While this death is a bit more of a technicality than others, Hit’s Phoenix Eye Fist attack does kill Goku. However, Goku fired a concentrated Ki Blast into the air before he died. This then landed on his body, reviving him.
While this is technically a canon death, the fact that Goku is only dead for a minute or so before getting back into the fight makes it less impactful than his other demises.
Killed By Zamasu
The many different series throw in all kinds of alternate timelines and universes. In Dragon Ball Super, an alternate universe where Zamasu wasn’t killed led to him seeking revenge against Goku.
Using the Dragon Balls, Zamasu switches bodies with Goku to become Goku Black. He then kills Goku (whose mind is trapped in Zamasu’s defenseless body), as well as Goku’s family.
Because this happens in an alternate timeline it isn’t counted as canon, but this death shows how easily even the strongest characters can be defeated.
Died From The Heart Virus
In this Future Trunks timeline, Goku returns to Earth after defeating Freeza. His victory is short-lived, however, and he soon succumbs to the Heart Virus and dies of heart failure.
Future Trunks then travels back from 20 years in the future to deliver medication and bring Goku back to life.
While Goku dies several times in the Dragon Ball Saga, in both canon and non-canon timelines, his deaths are only ever temporary. It’s possible that Goku may never die permanently, but one thing is certain: his deaths are always emotional and impactful.