This crushing defeat was not Greeley's only misfortune in 1872. Greeley was among several high-profile investors who were defrauded by Philip Arnold in a famous diamond and gemstone hoax. Meanwhile, as Greeley had been pursuing his political career, Whitelaw Reid, owner of the New York Herald, had gained control of the Tribune.
Not long after the election Greeley's wife died. He descended into madness and died before the electoral votes could be cast. In his final illness, spotting Reid, he cried out "You son of a bitch, you stole my newspaper," and died at 6:50 p.m. on Friday, November 29, 1872, in Pleasantville, New York at Dr. George C. S. Choate’s private hospital. Even though Greeley received no electoral votes, three of Georgia's electoral votes were left blank in honor of him.