•A wave of body wall muscle contraction occurs during C. elegans organismal death
•This rigor mortis-like phenomenon is coupled to a wave of intestinal necrosis
•Both waves are accompanied by Ca2+ release and a drop in ATP levels
•Properties of long-lived daf-2 mutants suggest resistance to organismal death
Organismal death is a process of systemic collapse whose mechanisms are less well understood than those of cell death. We previously reported that death in C. elegans is accompanied by a calcium-propagated wave of intestinal necrosis, marked by a wave of blue autofluorescence (death fluorescence).