Wassily Leontief was going to die. That actually turned out to be a good thing.
Leontief had the misfortune of living in Russia when it turned into the Soviet Union. He wasn't exactly a fan of the change, and was jailed numerous times for speaking out. Prison in 1920s USSR? That was going to be the end of young Leontief.
But the end it wasn't. You see, Leontief was facing another, equally grim conclusion: he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Somehow, that worked in his favor. The communists, thinking that the young scientist was going to die anyway, allowed him to emmigrate. Leontief ran quickly, to Germany in 1925, then China, and eventually America.
In 1973, Leontief earned the Nobel Prize in Economics. Yes, you read that right. That's 48 years after the Soviets let him go. The terminal cancer diagnosis turned out to be erroneous.
Leontief died in 1999, aged 92. For a story that begins and ends with death, it certainly is a great ending.