Over the course of the Dragon Ball saga, Goku has proven on more than one occasion that protecting the earth and its inhabitants is a top priority, even it means losing his life. Of course, if the Dragon Balls are around⏤those golden spheres capable of granting any wish⏤no one ever really stays dead. However, they do have a limit and can only be revived so many times. Knowing that hasn’t stopped Goku from pushing the battle and his body to the brink of death. As a result, the Saiyan warrior has lost his life quite a few times.
Then Dragon Ball Super introduced the idea of the multiverse in the Future Trunks arc and it seemed that in almost every timeline we’ve been introduced to since, Goku’s death was an actual theme. Whether it was through an all-out battle, sickness, or just the result of some underhanded scheming, something or someone has always managed to kill Goku at some point in time. So how many times has he died so far?
Starting from Dragon Ball Z, Chama Goku’s first death involved a sacrifice to save Goku from his brother Raditz. After putting Raditz in a full nelson headlock, Goku held his brother while Piccolo struck them both with his Special Beam Cannon. Goku and Raditz both died after the attack, but only Goku knew that he would eventually be revived back with the Dragon Balls.
In the Cell Game Saga, Goku experienced death for a second time. After Gohan Super Saiyan 2 transformation overwhelmed Cell, the android initiated a self-destructing explosion in a last desperate effort to destroy the Z-Fighters. Goku decided to use Instant Transmission to transport Cell’s explosion to King Kai’s world, sacrificing himself, King Kai, Bubbles, and Gregory to the explosion.
In the canonical timeline, these are technically the only two times that Goku has actually died and had to be revived with the Dragon Balls. Over the course of the franchise’s history, Goku has died a couple more times in various situations and timelines that sometimes didn’t affect him as much as you would think.
Before the Tournament of Power Saga in Dragon Ball Super, Goku hired the alien assassin Hit to fight him with all of his deadly techniques. Going all out, Hit does kill Goku with his Phoenix Eye Fist, but Goku prepared a contingency plan in case that happened. During the fight, Goku launched an energy blast into the air before being killed and when that blast finally came back down to land on his lifeless body, the energy acted as a defibrillator and resuscitated him. It might not have been the Dragon Balls that time, but nevertheless, it worked.
During the Future Trunks saga, fans were introduced to an alternate timeline where Zamasu⏤an apprentice to the Supreme Kai of that timeline’s universe⏤managed to find the Goku of that alternate universe and kill him. In order to do this, Zamasu gathered all of the Super Dragon Balls and made the wish to swap bodies with Goku. Afterward, he decided to erase any signs of Goku’s past by killing Goku and his family.
Speaking of the Future Trunks saga, there was actually one more time with Goku died in an alternate timeline. During the Android Saga in Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta’s son Trunks traveled from 20 years in the far future to warn the Z Fighters of the impending threat from Androids 17 and 18. He also dropped another bombshell: in his timeline, Goku was already dead due to heart disease. Adamant that Goku’s absence in the future was the reason why the Androids defeated the humans in the future, Trunks’ main reason for traveling through time was to deliver medication that could cure Goku’s heart complication.
Goku did indeed get better and of course, is still living to this day in Dragon Ball Super. However, though Trunks’ hampering of the timeline did save Goku in the past, it had no effect on the future, meaning that technically the Goku of Future Trunks is still dead.
If we count all the alternate timelines and situations in which Goku has died, then Goku has technically died five times in total. But since we’re really talking about present-day Goku, the Saiyan has really only died twice.