How Old Was Avatar Aang When He Died?


Summary

  • Aang, the beloved Avatar, died at 66 years old due to old age, passing the mantle to the new Avatar, Korra.
  • Avatars can live long lives if no harm befalls them – Earth Avatar Kyoshi lived over 200 years.
  • Aang’s death at 66 was influenced by spending 100 years frozen in ice, making him technically 166 years old.



Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are two of the most iconic Nickelodeon animated TV shows in recent memory. Known for combining adult themes with anime inspiration, the sprawling epic story created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko has become cherished by adults and children alike. From the classic sibling duo of Sokka & Katara to the adorable flying Appa to the fantastical elemental bending, this adventurous animated series has gone on to inspire some pretty epic situations and characters.

One of the most well-known characters is Aang, whose titles as both Avatar and Airbender paved the way for the original series. His goals have been altered over the years, from simply overcoming the war established by the Fire Nation to amassing the power of the four elements – Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. Once his time in the original series came to pass, however, the start of the sequel, The Legend of Korra, saw the emergence of a new Avatar. This meant only one thing – the beloved Aang was dead. What happened to Aang in between the events of Korra and The Last Airbender? What led to his early demise?



When Does Aang Die in the Series?

Aang’s death occurs somewhere between The Last Airbender series and the beginning of The Legend of Korra. This was a necessary evil for series creators, as a new Avatar is not reincarnated until the old Avatar has passed. So, for Korra to carry on the mantle, the lovable Aang had to go. To spice things up even further, in order to provide reasonable callbacks and cameos from characters in the previous series, this all had to happen while Aang was still relatively young. So, how did the beloved Avatar’s death come to pass?


Luckily for Aang, it’s revealed in The Legend of Korra that his death was cited as a result of old age. Feeling that his end was near, Aang gave the Order of the White Lotus the task of finding, training, and protecting the next Avatar upon his imminent demise. As it turned out, the protecting part of this task would take near immediate precedence as he died soon after this decree. Ultimately, Aang lived to be 66 years young… sort of (more on that in a moment). He was survived by his wife Katara and three children. His grandchildren would all become powerful Airbenders like himself. Upon his death, the Avatar spirit reincarnated into Korra, a member of the Southern Water Tribe.

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The good news for both Korra and fans of the franchise is that in this world, at least, deceased characters have a habit of popping into the world of the living from time to time for advice and guidance. Aang’s spirit lives in Korra, though it is not until the end of Season 1 that she is finally able to get in touch with her spiritual side for a chat. Even as their lines of communication ebb and flow throughout the series, Aang and their predecessors are around to make an appearance.

The Average Life Span in the World of Avatar: The Last Airbender


By the nature of their dangerous career path and the villains they face, it’s easy to think that the lifespan of the average Avatar is surely limited. This is true for some (Avatar Kuruk, for example, barely passed 30 years of age as a result of his fighting in the Spirit World). This, however, is not always the case. Avatars can live fairly long lives should no harm befall them. Earth Avatar Kyoshi’s legacy, for example, spanned over 200 years. This does not include the time spent after death in the world of the living, doling out advice to future Avatars.

Explained co-creator Bryan Konietzko,

“Mike and I were of the idea that these people with such enhanced Chi fields might live a longer time.”

Non-Avatar characters, on the other hand, are able to live just as long, if not longer… so long as nothing interferes with their safety, of course. King Bumi, for example, lives to be over 100 years old, with no signs of slowing down, even up to the events of his death. The same can be said for the Firelord Sozin, who lived to be 102. This shows that the lifespan of a normal person or even a bender in this series can far exceed the societal norms in the franchise.


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How Did Aang’s Life Lead to His Demise?

To understand how old Aang was when he died, it is vital to know how he lived. Before the main events in Avatar: The Last Airbender, a 12-year-old Aang had run away from his responsibilities and the Airbenders. In doing so, he and his trusty bison, Appa, get caught in a storm and nearly drown. The experience triggers Aang’s Avatar State, allowing him to create an air bubble beneath the water for them to survive. Unfortunately, the pair become frozen in stasis beneath the ice… that is until 100 years later when an angry Katara accidentally bursts his bubble. This would mean that Aang’s age at the beginning of the series is technically 12 years plus a century on ice – 112 years old to be exact.


As it turned out, after the events of The Last Airbender, Aang would go on to live for another half-century. It was only as Aang became middle-aged, however, that the years spent in the ice finally began to catch up to him. Said series co-creator Michael DiMartino,

“You gotta keep in mind that he was frozen in a state of suspended animation for 100 years, so he kind of burned up some of his extra Avatar time.”

That is to say that, accounting for the century on ice, Aang was technically 166 years young at the time of his death. In his case, he spent more than half his life trapped in ice rather than alive. This chilling fate made his optimistically endearing time on Earth all the more appealing. In just 66 short years, he mastered the skills of an Avatar, brought together the nations, and won the hearts and minds of viewers in the process. The animated Avatar: The Last Airbender series and the new live-action adaptation are available to stream on Netflix.




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