Attempts to kill the real Dracula were even more serious than attempts to kill Nosferatu, his celluloid character.
Dracula died a gruesome death. Fighting constant battles to keep or regain his throne, in the end he was most likely killed by an assassin he knew.
In Nosferatu, he dies when sunlight strikes his body. In real life he died in battle.
The contemporary account of his death, translated and quoted in the most authoritative source on the subject (In Search of Dracula by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu), states:
Dracula's army began killing Turks without mercy. Out of sheer joy, Dracula ascended a hill in order to see better his men massacring the Turks. Thus, detached from his army and his men some took him for a Turk, and one of them struck him with a lance.
Dracula did not die easily:
But Dracula, seeing that he was being attacked by his own men, immediately killed five of his would-be assassins with his own sword; however, he was pierced by many lances and thus he died.
Death on the field of battle did not mark the end of Dracula. Contemporary chroniclers tell what happened next.
His head, severed from his body, was sent to Constantinople where the Sultan had it impaled. He wanted all to see that Vlad Tepes would kill no more.
Dracula may have been dead, but tales about him lived. Mixed with the local folklore of vampires, "Vlad the Impaler" took on legendary status after death.