A total of 614 Jewish patients under the age of 18 with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus, diagnosed in Israel during the period 1 January 1965 to 31 December 1979, were identified by exhaustive screening of all possible sources. Mortality experience of this cohort was updated to 31 March 1988 through the Central Population Registry and 14 deaths were identified. The ascertainment rate for diagnosed cases as well as for deaths is estimated at about 95%. There was a significantly higher (p less than 0.001) by 3.2-fold excess mortality relative to the age and sex-adjusted mortality as expected the general Jewish population in Israel. This excess was due to three cause-of-death categories: diabetic ketoacidosis (n = 3; p less than 0.001), cardiovascular diseases (n = 3; p less than 0.001) and infections (n = 2; p = 0.03). The rate of malignancies (n = 2), external causes (n = 3) and other general causes (n = 1) did not differ significantly from that expected. During the first 15 years of the disease cumulative mortality resembled that of the general population, with a subsequent steep increase so that by 20 years disease duration, the rate was four-fold higher than expected. This mortality pattern was similar irrespective of age at onset, sex and ethnic group (Ashkenazi vs non-Ashkenazi Jews). A factor contributing to the lack of increase in mortality rate in the first 15 years of Type 1 diabetes may be the comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment approach employed for most juvenile diabetic patients in Israel leading to early referral and an overall better metabolic control.