Background Stroke is a leading cause of death. We looked at the causes (direct and indirect) of in-hospital mortality in a modern stroke unit over a two-year period. Methods We reviewed medical charts of stroke deaths in hospital from 2014-2015 inclusive. Data on stroke type, aetiology, age, length of stay, comorbidities, and documented cause of death were recorded. All patients were included. Results 518 patients were admitted acutely to the stroke service. Overall death rate was 7.5% (n=39). Of fatal strokes 29 (74%) were ischaemic. Average age 78.6 years. Mean survival was 26.4 days (range 1-154). 19 (49%) patients had atrial fibrillation. Forty-nine percent of deaths were due to pneumonia, and 33% were due to raised intracranial pressure. Discussion Mortality rate in our stroke service has decreased from 15% in 1997, and now appears dichotomised into early Secondary Stroke Related Cerebral Events (SSRCEs) and later infections.