The mortality rate and causes of death after a hip fracture were studied in 493 consecutive patients with a hip fracture. All patients were treated in three hospitals in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The mortality rate following hip fractures is high and age dependent. Forty-five patients, 38 women and 7 men, died during the period of hospitalization (9.1%). One year after the date of hip fracture 23.6% of the women had died and 33.0% of the men. Four years after the date of hip fracture the mortality rates in women and men were 44.4% and 55.3%, respectively. Male sex, concomitant illnesses and in-hospital complications are negative determinants of survival. The in-hospital mortality was due to: cerebrovascular accident (n = 7), cardiac decompensation (n = 12), myocardial infarction (n = 4), pulmonary infection (n = 6), intestinal bleeding (n = 1) and sepsis (n = 5). From the registration of death causes we learned that 54 deaths were directly due to the hip fracture, 4 due to bed sores, 34 due to infectious diseases, 62 due to cardiovascular disease, 22 due to cerebrovascular accidents, 14 due to diabetes mellitus, and 33 due to neoplasm. The high mortality rate within the first 8 weeks after the date of hip fracture was mainly attributed to the hip fracture.