What causes a death rattle? July 26, 2020 by Pamela Landy A death rattle is the sound a person often makes before dying. It is caused by air being forced through food or mucus lodged in the throat. Related Answers How much hair does an average person lose each day? What causes balding? What causes the most household accidents? What causes hail? What causes Legionnaires’ disease? Who was sentenced to death at the Nuremberg war crimes trial?