Kerouac coughed up blood while eating a favorite meal of his, smoked salmon from a can on October 20th at around 11 am in the morning. He was rushed to St. Anthony's Hospital where he ultimately died on October 21, 1969 at 5:15 in the morning after undergoing surgery for an abdominal hemorrhage. Doctors attempted surgery without anesthetic. After several transfusions, they ran out of his blood type while friend Ronnie Lowe helped hold Jack down to the operating table. Kerouac never regained consciousness after the surgery. The official cause of death was esophageal hemorrhaging, what his biographer Gerald Nicosia calls “the classic drunkard’s death.”
Before Kerouac's body was shipped back to his hometown a wake was held at John S. Rhodes Memorial Home which closed after 80 years of business in 2005 and the location is now the 49th Street Walgreens Pharmacy. He is buried at Edson Cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Tom Hallock wrote about Kerouac's time in Florida with an introspective article for Florida Humanities. Extolling that the years Jack lived in Florida are not to be summarized by the tragic ending, in truth these were productive times for the author. Between Orlando and St. Petersburg, FL Kerouac wrote 1/4th of his work in the Sunshine State including Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Satori in Paris and his last book Pic.