How to Inform Someone of a Death by Text (Examples)

Figuring out how to inform someone of a death by text is never an easy task. Here’s some tactful tips and examples to help you navigate.

In the face of loss, figuring out how to inform someone of a death by text is a heavy task. Words can fall short, and emotions run deep.

While prioritizing the needs of those receiving the news, remember to be gentle with yourself too. Don't let your own grief go unattended.

You might be reaching out to loved ones, wrestling with your own feelings, and unsure where to begin. We’re here to help you navigate those first steps.

What is a death notification?

A death notification is a short message you send to someone to inform them about the passing of a loved one. 

It's a crucial but difficult part of preparing for the next steps that might involve a funeral or memorial. 

What should the message include?

A death notification text should be concise and clear. It should directly deliver the news, mentioning the person’s name and the date of passing.

You can also include a brief detail about the cause of death, but only if you feel comfortable sharing it.

Who should it go to?

This text is typically sent to friends and family members of the deceased who may not already be aware of what has happened.

Use your judgment to determine if a text is the most appropriate way to deliver the news, especially for those very close to the person who has passed.

When should you send it?

Timing is important. Consider the recipient's situation. Are they likely to be at work or alone?

Sending the text in the evening or offering to call them first might be more appropriate to give them space to process the news privately.

Death announcement vs. notification

While both death announcements and notification texts serve the purpose of informing others about a passing, there are key differences in their approach.

Understanding these distinctions can help you choose the most appropriate way to share the news.

Death announcement

A death announcement is a more formal way to publicly acknowledge someone's passing and share the news with a wider audience. It's typically sent after close family and friends have been personally notified.

Purpose: The goal is to publicly share news of the death with a broader community. 

Audience: General public, extended family, acquaintances, colleagues.

Timing: Sent after informing close family and friends.


Examples: Obituaries in newspapers, online obituaries, social media posts (with family permission).

Death notification

A death notification text is a more private and immediate way to inform close family, friends, or anyone who had a significant relationship with the deceased. It allows them to grieve privately before the news becomes public knowledge.

Purpose: The goal is to privately and immediately inform close family, friends, or anyone with a significant connection to the deceased.

Audience: Family, friends, those with a strong connection to the deceased.

Timing: Sent as soon as possible, considering the recipient's situation.


Examples: Text messages, and phone calls (depending on urgency and closeness).

Here are some examples of death notification messages

When delivering the difficult news of someone's passing, it's important to consider your relationship with the recipient.

Here are some examples demonstrating how to tailor your message with empathy and respect:

For a close family member

"I'm deeply saddened to share that Dad passed away last night. As we grapple with this immense loss, it's important we support each other as he would have wanted.

I'm here to shoulder this with you, every step of the way. Let me know when you’re free for a quick call. We are still finalizing memorial arrangements but I will keep you posted."

For a sibling

"It breaks my heart to tell you this, but our brother passed away earlier today. We grew up sharing every joy and sorrow, and losing him feels like losing a part of ourselves.

Let’s make some time for us to talk about this. I’m here if you need me."

For a close friend

"I have some very sad news to share, and I wish I didn't have to. Our friend [Name] passed away last night. You were such a pillar of strength for them during [illness/difficult situation], and I know they cherished your friendship deeply.

Please don't hesitate to reach out
if you need absolutely anything at all. This loss cuts deep. I'm here to listen, to share stories, or just to be in each other's company as we navigate it."

For a colleague

"I wanted to let you know that our dear colleague [Name] passed away.

We've lost not just a team member but a part of our daily lives. I know you worked closely on several projects, and this must be a tough blow to you personally. If you need time off or someone to talk to, I'm here to help manage things at work."

For a distant friend or relative

"I'm writing with a heavy heart to share the news that [Name] has passed away. While you may not have been in touch recently, I recall how you shared stories about your younger days together.

It's hard to lose someone who was part of life's significant chapters,
even if paths had diverged. If you wish to share any memories or need support, I'm here. I’ll keep you posted on details about the next steps."

What to keep in mind

When delivering news of a death via text, it's crucial to approach the task with sensitivity and care. 

Here are some points to remember as you draft your message:

What to include and leave out

By carefully considering what to include and what to leave out, you can make a difficult conversation slightly easier to bear.

Here are some general guidelines to help you convey the necessary information with kindness and sensitivity to the recipient and the loved one who has passed.

Include this in your message

Leave this out of your message

When to text vs. call

Choosing between texting and calling depends on your relationship with the recipient, the nature of the news, and the context at the time.

Here are some tips to help you decide what to do:

When to text

When to call

In some situations, a combination of both methods might be appropriate: A text to gently introduce the subject, followed by a phone call to provide support and share more detailed information.

The key is to choose the method that respects the recipient's feelings and needs during a challenging time.

Next steps

If you’re considering a cremation, Meadow is here to offer a gentle hand and a streamlined approach to managing one.

We understand the weight of this moment. We offer a more compassionate and meaningful way to celebrate a life well-lived with customized memorial planning services.

Our team of caring memorial planners, partner with you in this tender time to create an occasion as remarkable as the life it honors.

With our team, you can expect:

Our team is available 24/7 to guide you through this process. Explore our personalized memorial services to honor your loved one, on your own terms.