Offer Sympathy For the Death of a Person Who Has Been Ill • Example Letters, Guides and Samples


A letter offering a friend or associate sympathy for the death of his or her loved one who has been ill respectfully acknowledges the reader's misfortune while offering comfort and support. Be brief and sincere as you write the message by hand, using personal stationery.

How to write this sympathy letter:

  1. Express your sympathy briefly.
  2. Recall the achievements or character of the deceased, and express your admiration for the reader's courage.
  3. Offer further sympathy and support.

Example Letter #1


Please accept my sympathy at the passing of your wife. I am sure that following her long illness it is a blessing that she no longer suffers. You can take comfort in how you cared for her so long and lovingly. No one could have done better.

Example Letter #2


I am at once sorry and relieved to hear of Jane's passing. Like all of you, I loved and admired her dearly. Few people can be a productive as she was throughout her life. Because she was so bright and had such vitality, I am sure she would have suffered greatly had she lived much longer in her condition. Although we hate to lose her, we are glad she didn't have to suffer long. Sometime in the near future I would like to bring some photos of your mother from our college days. Please let me know when that would be appropriate.

Example Letter #3


I was saddened to hear that John had died, but relieved for both of you that the painful struggle had ended. Please accept our warmest sympathy. Through these last months you and John have displayed tremendous courage, which has been an inspiration to us all. Your example was one we can remember when we too must face difficult moments. I thank you for the strength you gave us while we thought we were helping you. Our love and thoughts are with you.

Example Letter #4


I am sorry to hear that after a valiant battle with cancer your father has passed on. It seems unfair that his illness was properly diagnosed only three months ago and he is already gone.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends who must now accept this sudden reality. I hope good memories can help ease the pain of this loss.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1 Express your sympathy briefly.

Sample Sentences for Step 1
  • We were so sorry to hear from John Doe that Robert passed away after a long and difficult illness.
  • Although John's death was expected, his passing has saddened us beyond words.
  • What a trying time this past year has been for you, Jane. Your being there for your mother throughout her illness was certainly an act of love.
  • Although it is still difficult to accept that John is no longer with us, I am relieved to know that he no longer suffers pain from his illness.
  • We are saddened to hear that John has lost his struggle with cancer.
  • Even during his final days in the hospital, your Eric displayed an optimism that we have rarely seen.
  • All of us here at Doe Corporation would like to extend our deepest sympathy on the passing of your mother.
  • Although your mother's death saddens us all, we share your relief that she is finally free from pain and is at peace.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
  • accept our most sincere condolences
  • after such a long illness
  • although expected
  • couldn't have asked for more devoted care
  • devotion helped her through this last illness
  • during her final days
  • express my deepest sympathy
  • extend our heartfelt sympathy
  • extend my deep sympathy
  • extend our deepest sympathy to you
  • has been a trying time for you
  • has saddened us beyond words
  • have been thinking of you every moment since I learned
  • is with sincere regret
  • are thinking about you
  • our hearts go out to you
  • never any way to prepare for the loss of a parent
  • no longer with us
  • no longer suffers the pain of his illness
  • on the passing of your
  • passed away
  • relieved to know
  • still difficult to accept
  • this sad occasion
  • throughout her illness
  • to you and your family
  • was so sorry to hear
  • were saddened to hear
  • with great personal sorrow

2 Recall the achievements or character of the deceased, and express your admiration for the reader's courage.

Sample Sentences for Step 2
  • We will remember John as an intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated employee, as well as a loyal friend.
  • I credit Jane with being largely responsible for the success I have achieved throughout my career. If it were not for her wise counsel and generosity, I never would have received so many business opportunities.
  • He was a talented, kind, and energetic man. I hope that his memory will bring comfort to you in the years ahead.
  • Although we cannot bring back such a courageous, honest man, in our hearts we wish we could.
  • Your courage and strength in the face of John's illness has been absolutely astonishing. You must have found strength in the loving relationship that you and John shared.
  • If we all had Eric's friendly smile and cheerful disposition, this world would be a happier place.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
  • a shame that one so gifted should succumb so early in life
  • already feel her absence
  • always so warm, wise, and understanding
  • appreciated her wise counsel and generosity
  • at peace now
  • by all those who knew him
  • came to admire her cheerfulness
  • did more than was expected of
  • during the many years I knew
  • feel as if I knew him from all you have said
  • fine memories he left with us
  • fine human being
  • free from pain
  • friendliness cheered us all
  • good nature won her many friends
  • great and loyal companion
  • had splendid parents during her short time on earth
  • have heard so much about
  • held in high esteem by
  • hope her memory will bring comfort to you
  • immense capacity for helping others
  • kind and generous disposition
  • made this world better
  • made life better
  • those who knew her could never forget her charm and warmth
  • one of those extraordinary people who will never be forgotten
  • one of the kindest people I have ever known
  • remember his energy and kindness
  • seems selfish of us to want him back
  • shall miss his counsel
  • share your relief that she is no longer suffering
  • was loved and admired by all
  • was always so impressed by
  • was always good to us kids
  • was a fine friend
  • will be sorely missed
  • will always think of him with fondness
  • will always remember her pleasant ways
  • won't be the same without her
  • your courage and strength
  • your devoted care

3 Offer further sympathy and support.

Sample Sentences for Step 3
  • Please accept these flowers as a tribute to John and the fond memories he left with us.
  • Our offer still stands for the summer cabin in Vermont. It is our hope that our families can continue to enjoy one another's friendship for many years to come.
  • Your mother has left a beautiful legacy in you, Mary. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you now and always.
  • I realize that your married children are close and will be looking out for you, but know that I would be honored to help out in any way I can, from bringing in meals to driving you to the store.
  • Although I cannot replace John, please know that I am here to help you through the lonely times.
  • Eric's memory will live on in our hearts and minds. Thank you for sharing such a jewel with us.
  • Please accept our deepest sympathy. We have sent a memorial contribution to the Heart Association in your mother's name.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
  • accept our sympathy and condolences
  • admired your dedicated care of
  • am here to be your friend
  • anything at all we can do to help
  • be assured of my availability
  • be assured of my love and concern
  • bereavement is so personal
  • best wishes and thoughts
  • brave battle with cancer
  • call on us if we can be of service
  • comforting to know that we are all in God's hands
  • concern of your many friends will sustain you
  • do call if I can give you a hand
  • extend our deepest sympathy
  • extremely painful time for you
  • flowers are just a small symbol of my esteem for
  • hard to say goodbye to someone I worked with for so long
  • hard to imagine the world without him
  • have hung his photo in our conference room as a memorial
  • here for anything you may need
  • hope the many memories you shared will ease your pain
  • hope the support of your family and friends
  • if you need someone to talk to
  • know that we too will miss her
  • loved her so much
  • many memories we will always cherish
  • may you have the strength and courage to carry on
  • may God bless you and your family
  • may a lifetime of wonderful memories give you strength
  • offer you a listening ear
  • only a phone call away
  • our thoughts are with you
  • passing will be mourned
  • please do not hesitate to contact us
  • please let us know if
  • realize how deeply this loss will touch you
  • realize our loss is small compared to yours
  • remember all the good times we shared
  • seems hard to believe that she is no longer with us
  • share your relief that she is now at peace
  • so many of his friends share your grief
  • thoughts and prayers are with you
  • will never forget
  • will be dearly missed
  • would be selfish of us to want to bring him back
  • you gave him all the love and care possible