A retrospective study of mortality was conducted in which 3,623 patients with schizophrenia receiving treatment in Alberta between 1976 and 1985 were followed to the end of 1985. Vital status was determined by record linkage to the Statistics Canada Mortality Data Base. There were 301 deaths in the cohort, 97 of which were due to suicide. For all causes of death combined, the risk of mortality was approximately double that of the Alberta population; for suicide, risk was increased by a factor of 20. Mortality from circulatory, respiratory, digestive and genitourinary diseases was also greater than expected. It is estimated that those who suffer from schizophrenia have a life expectancy which is approximately 20% shorter than that of the general population. This study confirms earlier research demonstrating an increased risk of mortality associated with schizophrenia and extends those findings to specific causes of death.