Emergency department (ED) visits are made by cancer patients for symptom management, treatment effects, oncologic emergencies, or end of life care. While most patients prefer to die at home, many die in health care institutions. The purpose of this study is to describe visit characteristics of cancer patients who died in the ED and their most common chief complaints using 2008 ED visit data from the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT). Of the 37,760 cancer-related ED visits, 283 resulted in death. For lung cancer patients, 104 died in the ED with 70.9% dying on their first ED visit. Research on factors precipitating ED visits by cancer patients is needed to address end of life care needs.