Health-related quality of life (HRQL) was analyzed in relation to 16 different diagnoses common for ambulant, community living 76-year-old urban citizens participating in the longitudinal population study of elderly in Göteborg (H 70), Sweden. HRQL of the total sample was good, but was impaired by illness, mostly in the form of anginal pain, urinary incontinence, locomotor and mental disorders. The HRQL of those suffering from e.g. chronic lung disorders or under treatment for hypertension or cancer, however, seemed to be little influenced. Sleep was impaired regardless of being ill or healthy, except for anginal pain, upper extremity disorders and back pain which had a significantly detrimental impact on sleep. The degree of female complaints surpassed those of men for pain, emotions, sleep and mobility, and for household activities and hobbies. Within the separate diagnostic groups, however, gender differences were few. Generally, HRQL decreased with multimorbidity. In the emotional and social dimensions, however, HRQL was very little influenced until health was much impaired (reaching 4 or more diagnoses). The studied diagnoses did not explain more than up to 1/3 of the QL decrease, thus suggesting that factors other than health have an impact or that ill health is considered an acceptable component of aging. However, most of the diagnoses seemed to cause much distress in common daily life, especially anginal pain, urinary incontinence, locomotor problems, visual impairment, and mental disorders.