We assessed the relationship between characteristics of stroke victims and the risk of early death from coronary or cerebrovascular disease (CCVD) among their children. For each of 55 stroke patients selected from a registry which enrolled patients between 1969 and 1973, an index of their progeny's survival was calculated using the age in 1987 of 197 surviving children, and the age at and cause of death for 55 deceased children. Increased risk of CCVD death within families was significantly related to parental age at the time of first stroke, and with the parental history of diabetes mellitus. No significant relationship was found between the children's risk of CCVD death and the stroke patient/parent's sex, race, history of hypertension or cardiac disease, stroke diagnosis (infarction vs hemorrhage), or severity upon admission. These results suggest that family histories of cerebrovascular disease may impart differential risks, depending upon a family history of diabetes, and perhaps, the ages at which ancestral strokes first occurred.