Warning: potential spoilers ahead.
This Is Us has been filled with sad moments, including William's heartbreaking death, but the most shocking twist had to be the revelation that Milo Ventimiglia's character Jack is no longer alive in present day. Since the news broke, we have been racking our brains trying to figure out how it all goes down, and during season one, we finally got some closure. As Kate takes part in a drum-therapy class at an adult weight-loss camp, she recounts heartbreaking memories from her past, including her father's funeral. While the clip offers that the kids were teenagers, it still doesn't exactly answer how Jack dies. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the show comes full-circle by having him die on their shared birthday. There are a few theories about his cause of death, and we've gathered the most intriguing here.
Even though Jack seems to have kicked his alcoholism, it may have still taken a toll on his health. It's possible that all that drinking leads to heart problems or increases his risk of developing cancer. We don't even want to think about that.
2. Heart Attack
Kate is so distraught over Toby's heart surgery, and while obviously any person would be, the storyline might have been backwards foreshadowing that her father also suffered from a heart condition.
Now that Rebecca's music career has caused strife with her marriage, we're worried that Jack will die while she is away on tour. Perhaps the stress of balancing his work and personal life will prove to be too much and wear him down. The added exhaustion could lead to a number of health complications, resulting in his untimely death.
4. Plane Crash
Hold onto your seat, because this theory is a doozy. Some fans seem to think that Jack actually dies during the 9/11 terrorists attacks. Tumblr user just-an-outlaw pointed out that both Kate and Kevin seem to have a fear of flying, and that Kevin threw away his model airplanes after his dad's death — and that's not the only connection. Randall lives in New Jersey and Rebecca seems to live nearby. Perhaps the family moved to city sometime around 2001? While the details certainly make sense, the only problem is that the kids would have been in their early 20s, and the flashback suggests that they are a bit younger when Jack dies. Another (and way more believable) theory is based on a real plane crash that happened in Pittsburgh (the city where the Pearson family lived) in 1994.
5. Car Crash
On the note of life-altering accidents, what if Jack dies in a car crash and Kate is with him? Out of the Big Three, it seems like Kate is the most affected by her father's death. Not only does she have his urn in her house, but she got pretty emotional when she remembered his funeral during camp. In the episode "Memphis" we also couldn't help but notice how the camera spent a few extra seconds focused on the tree where some of Jack's ashes were sprinkled. Is it possible that he hit that exact tree during his accident?
6. He Goes Missing
When we spoke with Justin Hartley recently, he revealed that one of the craziest theories he's heard so far is that Jack actually goes into hiding and dies as a missing person. While we would love to believe that Jack is still alive, he immediately dismissed the idea.
7. Miguel Kills Him
OK, OK, this one is out there. Miguel probably isn't a murderer, but what if Miguel accidentally kills him? And that's why Kevin doesn't like him; not because Miguel marries Rebecca. Jon Huertas dispelled this theory in an interview with E!, saying, "What kind of show are you watching? This isn't some murder mystery!" But we're still not convinced that he doesn't have something to do with the death.
8. House Fire
Even though we're slowly starting to like Miguel, we can't wrap our minds around how Rebecca would marry her husband's best friend. Unless, of course, there is a tragic event that brings them together. Reddit user AFriendlyInternetGuy suggested that Jack might actually die a hero by trying to save Miguel in a house fire. It would definitely explain why the latter's family is never mentioned in present day and why the kids hold a bit of resentment.
The latest theory about Jack's death is extremely violent. Due to the show's numerous shocking twists, some fans seem to think that Jack gets shot during a random robbery. While the theory certainly sounds crazy, there is one scene that has us questioning its validity. During the season one finale, it is revealed that Jack actually met Rebecca when he was supposed to be robbing a bar. Was their chance meeting foreshadowing how he dies?
Alas, it seems like we may not be getting answers right away, as the show's creator, Dan Fogelman, told Entertainment Weekly that the how for Jack's death is going to take much longer to reveal. "By the end of the season, you're going to know a lot of the details of the how and the ramifications of it," he said. "In terms of the detail of how he died, was it illness? Was it something tragic? Was it something else? You're not going to know that for a little bit because we want to show that in the show. So that's going to take a minute." Thankfully, the series has two more seasons to tell Jack and the rest of the Pearson family's story.