Although many studies have shown an increased mortality in schizophrenic patients, the literature provides little information about mortality from specific causes in relation to age, gender, and duration of illness. This study examined mortality and causes of death in a total national sample of 9156 first admitted schizophrenic patients. Suicide accounted for 50% of deaths in men and 35% of deaths in women. Suicide risk was particularly increased during the first year of follow-up. Death from natural causes, with the exception of cancer and cerebrovascular diseases, was increased. Suicide risk during the first year of follow-up increased by 56%, with a 50% reduction on psychiatric in-patient facilities. The study confirms that mortality in schizophrenia is still markedly elevated, and the finding of an increasing suicide risk may be an indicator of some adverse effects of deinstitutionalisation.