Earlier this month, the internet was horrified after a US veteran live-streamed his own suicide by gunshot wound, which proceeded to go viral with the help of Facebook and TikTok users.

Horrifying though the incident was, it's hardly the first time a death has been broadcast to a mass audience live on air.

The invention of television in the middle of the 20th century allowed people around the world to keep up with current events which often went to air as they happened.

This also caused many viewers to see things no one should ever see, witnessing terror attacks, disasters and murders before TV stations had time to cut to a commercial break.

Here are seven of the most disturbing deaths ever captured on live TV.

Politician killed with samurai, 1960

Inejiro Asanuma, leader of the Japan Socialist Party, was participating in a live televised debate on October 12, 1960.

While speaking at the lectern, 17-year-old nationalist Otoya Yamaguchi rushed onstage wielding a yoroi-dōshi (a traditional samurai sword) and stabbed him through the ribs, killing him.

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A photograph of the assassination later won both the Pulitzer Prize and World Press Photo of the Year.

Yamaguchi was arrested at the scene and killed himself in jail a few weeks later.

Suicide of Christine Chubbuck, 1974

Christine Chubbuck was a Florida news reporter suffering from a major depressive episode.

She lived with her mother and, at almost 30 years old, had never had any kind of romantic relationship.

In the months leading up to her death she missed out on a promotion at work and discovered a fellow reporter she had feelings for was seeing someone else.

A week before her death she joked about killing herself live on air to a colleague, who didn't take it seriously.

On July 15, 1974, Chubbuck presented the TV station's daily programme Suncoast Digest as normal, before saying to the camera: "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in 'blood and guts' and in living colour, you are going to see another first — an attempted suicide."

She then drew a gun she'd been keeping under the desk and shot herself in the head. The station quickly faded to black and started playing a film while her shocked colleagues called an ambulance.

Chubbuck was pronounced dead 14 hours later.

Tommy Cooper's death, 1984

Tommy Cooper was a British prop magician and comedian known for performing magic tricks that intentionally failed.

On April 15, 1984, he was halfway through his act on the weekly variety show Live from Her Majesty's when his assistant helped him to put on a cloak for his act.

Suddenly Cooper began gasping for air and fell backwards, slumping into the stage curtain. The audience, believing it was part of the act, laughed uproariously.

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Even his assistant went along with it, not realising the magician was experiencing a fatal cardiac arrest.

The audience laughed harder when Cooper began making a bizarre sound into his microphone which was in fact a death rattle.

At this point the TV station cut to an ad break while Cooper was pulled back through the curtains and efforts were made to resuscitate him in the dark.

He was rushed to Westminster Hospital during the next ad break, where he was pronounced dead.

Challenger disaster, 1986

The traumatic event that defined a generation of young space fans, the explosion of the NASA space shuttle Challenger was broadcast live on air.

The mission to space had attracted a huge deal of attention from schools because Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher, had been selected to take part.

So on January 28, 1986, thousands of schoolchildren gathered in classrooms and assembly halls to watch NASA's special feed of the launch.

To their horror the Challenger disintegrated just 73 seconds after take-off, killing all seven crew members on board.

Many Americans to this day cite watching the disaster as a formative childhood memory.

World Series earthquake, 1989

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On the afternoon of October 17, 1989, San Francisco was buzzing with baseball fans as local teams the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants had both made it to the World Series.

Thousands of people were excitedly filling up the stadium at Candlestick Park for the 5:35pm scheduled game when a major earthquake hit at 5:04pm.

The quake was captured live on air, with an ABC news crew presenting a pre-game highlights package. The tremors temporarily knocked out the feed just as one reporter was heard to say "I'll tell you what, we're having an earth-".

A few moments later the feed was restored, with the reporters very shaken and bruised.

The magnitude 6.9 quake killed 67 people, but the baseball game has been credited with lowering the death toll due to fewer cars being on the road at the time.

Second plane hits the World Trade Centre, 2001

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Possibly the scariest moment of the entire 9/11 terror attack, which ultimately killed almost 3,000 people, came when the second plane hit the World Trade Centre.

New York residents and news watchers around the world were transfixed as they watched the North Tower of the famous twin buildings burn, a commercial airliner having flown right into the side of it.

With no knowledge yet of the elaborate terrorism plot unfolding, many wondered if the disaster was a tragic accident and the plane had plowed into the building by mistake.

That theory was abruptly disproven at 9:02am when Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, making it all too clear that this was no accident.

"Oh my God, oh my God," one news anchor gasped as the second plane hit live on air.

"I think we have a terrorist act of proportions that we cannot begin to imagine at this juncture," another said.

News crew murders, 2015

Alison Parker and Adam Ward, two young employees of a CBS affiliate morning news show, were conducting a live interview in Roanoke, Virginia on August 26, 2015.

Parker, 24, was interviewing the head of the local chamber of commerce when disgruntled former coworker Vester Lee Flanagan suddenly appeared. He had been fired two years earlier for misconduct.

Eight gunshots can be heard in the footage of the interview, which was being broadcast live. Screams are heard before the camera, being operated by Ward, 27, is dropped to the ground.

The station then cut to a confused anchorwoman back in the studio.

Parker and Ward were both shot and killed at the scene, while the interviewee survived by curling up on the ground.

Staff reviewing the footage back in the newsroom managed to identify Flanagan, who called ABC News later that morning to confess to the murders.

He was found dead inside his car about an hour later after a manhunt, having shot himself.

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