William died of typhoid fever at the age of 61 on November 30, 1896. His death was described in a letter written by William's nephew, Frederick T. Steinway, sent to his mother, Sophie Millinet Steinway Fricke. The letter is dated December 4, 1896.
Last Friday after three good days, the fever started to rise again and a set-back was obvious, and as uncle was very weak, his heart had difficulty keeping going despite injections of strong potions like strychnine.
On Sunday morning at last consultation, Uncle's condition was recognized as hopeless, and despite all stimulations and other helps, we were called to the bedside about 9 pm. Charles was the last one he recognized, and from then til the next morning at 3:30 he was restless and fantasizing. At 3:45 before drawing his last breath, he became calm, and sunk without pain into eternal rest with a smile on his face.
His fantasies were pleasant and so showed his sunny personality, which never left him despite all the many cruel blows of fate he had suffered.
At 8 o'clock in the evening he said very sadly, "Must I really Die?" before he sunk into his fantasies.
What we the family have lost is hard now to understand, and can not be even rationally thought about, with our present pain. And the hundred of unfortunate people whom he secretly supported feel it as deeply as we do. Such a man comes only once a Century to a family.
I can write no more.