Fatty liver is a common finding in clinical practice and at autopsy. It is most commonly seen associated with alcohol abuse and in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It may also be seen in many other conditions in both adults and children. It is now recognized that NAFLD, like alcoholic liver disease, may lead to end stage liver disease. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with increased mortality from other disorders, particularly cardiovascular diseases. Fatty liver may be seen in many conditions that concern autopsy pathologists, including drug toxicity, anorexia, hepatic ischemia, and heatstroke. In infants, steatosis is common in sudden unexpected deaths. Fatty liver has been associated with sudden death and this review examines the pathology and role of fatty liver in sudden death.