Goku dies in the Dragon Ball series on more than one occasion. Based on the canonical timeline, the Saiyan warrior has died only two times. However, several events occurred throughout the Dragon Ball saga that saw Son Goku die a few more times. Some sources even have him dying as much as eight times based on technicalities.
Being the main protagonist of the series, Son Goku has time and again proven his devotion to ensuring the health and well-being of the earth and its inhabitants, and he has done so even to the point where it cost him his life. This article examines a few of those times and how he was brought back to life on each occasion.
Goku’s First Death was Against Brother Raditz
Goku has been called many things, including dumb, clumsy, naive, and even irresponsible, by his wife Chi-Chi. However, one of the personality traits he has that truly set him apart from others and backs up the series creators’ image of him as a leader is his willingness to lay down his life for the people he cares about.
This sacrificial virtue was on show in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z when he had to face off with his evil biological brother Raditz who was keen on world domination by becoming the most powerful warrior in the world. Knowing that Raditz’s quest would put the lives of the people he cared about in danger, in this case, his grandfather Gohan, Goku knew his brother had to be stopped.
During an intense battle that saw the Saiyan hero’s brother gain the upper hand, Goku paid the ultimate sacrifice by holding Raditz in place so that Piccolo could use his special beam cannon to end Raditz’s life. It worked, but the side effect of this victory was that Goku died from the blast as well.
Fortunately for the series’ main protagonist, becoming collateral damage as a result of a fight to the death with Raditz was not a permanent situation for him because he was brought back to life with the dragon balls, something he knew would happen even before his ultimate sacrifice to bring his brother down.
Having died on November 28 during the events of the Saiyan arc, Goku was dead for just about less than a year and was resurrected on November 3 to help fight Nappa and Vegeta.
Goku’s Second Death Came in the Cell Game Saga
In keeping with the sacrificial theme, Goku experienced death for the second time in the Cell Game Saga after sacrificing himself to save the earth and the Z fighters. Cell had decided to take on the Z fighters that included Goku and his son Gohan, and in the thick of the battle, Goku’s son did something that completely threw Cell off balance.
His transformation into Super Saiyan 2 was more than the villain could handle, and he responded by activating the self-destruct button that would almost certainly have destroyed the world, the Z fighters especially. Sticking to his ethos, Goku stepped in and intervened by using Instant Transmission to transport the blast to King Kai’s world, an action that meant sacrificing himself, Gregory, Bubbles, as well as King Kai in the process.
Just like his first death, Goku could have been resurrected within a year. However, he opted to remain dead for seven years before Elder Kai helped resurrect him by having his life restored by the Rou Kaioshin during the events of the Majin Buu arc.
Other Times Goku Has Technically Died
As previously stated, Goku only died and was resurrected twice according to the canonical timeline. However, there have been instances where he was technically dead, even if for just a few minutes. Here are some of them.
Goku Briefly Dies at the Hands of the Demon King
Piccolo, the demon king as he was known for a while, was, in the factual sense of the word, the first to give Goku his first experience of death. Before they became allies, they were enemies, and during one of their fights, one of Piccolo’s attacks stops Goku’s heart, albeit briefly.
However, given that Goku’s heart stopped, he was technically considered dead, although compared to his deaths based on the canonical timeline, this was just a walk in the park and did not have any lasting effect.
Goku and Vegeta Fought to the Death in Dragon Ball Online
The timeline for Dragon Ball Online, as illustrated by Akira Toriyama, featured the fates of several of the characters in Dragon Ball, including Goku and Vegeta. One of the main storylines of the series was about Goku and Vegeta, who went from being rivals to best friends.
In the Online saga, the buddies, after discovering that they were way past their prime, went off into space to duel it out for one last time. They were never heard from again.
Goku is Killed By Goku Black in Super
In Dragon Ball Super, Zamasu could not come to terms with the fact that Goku possessed the power to rival the gods and set off to learn all he could about him. After doing that, he becomes Goku Black to kill the Saiyan warrior.
He also goes as far as killing Goku’s son Goten and his wife Chi-Chi in that episode. Of all Goku’s deaths, this is the one that feels most uncomfortable because of his inability to do anything about it.
Goku is Killed By Hit in Dragon Ball Super
In Super, the Future Trunks Saga, Goku tests out Hit’s skills as an assassin by hiring him to kill him. After several failed attempts from Hit, the assassin succeeds in his quest.
Having anticipated this outcome, Goku releases a Ki blast into the air just as he was hit by Hit’s Phoenix Eye Fist. The blast lands on his dead body and brings him back to life almost immediately.
Goku Does Not Die Permanently From a Heart Disease
Goku died from a heart infection during Future Trunks’ timeline. Future Trunks came back 20 years in time to deliver medication to cure Goku while informing him of a looming danger in Androids 17 and 18.
Goku never dies permanently, although his deaths usually place a burden of responsibility on the other Z Fighters to revive him at critical times to rejoin the battle.