Eight hundred and fifty-three patients were admitted to psychiatric institutions in Denmark with anorexia nervosa between 1970 and 1986. Based on register information, 50 deaths were recorded during a mean follow-up period of 7.8 years. Amongst these, five were males and 45 females. The standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was 9.1 in both sexes. The SMR was maximal during the first year after index admission. Suicide was the dominant cause of death amongst subjects who died from unnatural causes (18 of 22 cases). Among those who died from natural causes (24 subjects), 13 individuals died from anorexia nervosa, and 11 individuals died from other illnesses.