Note: Sun Quan Tang // Sun Quan // Sun Quan statue
Later in 241, the crown prince Sun Deng died — an event that left open the issue of succession and appeared to mark the start of a precipitous decline in Sun Quan's mental health. In 242, he appointed his son Sun He, born to Consort Wang, crown prince. However, he also favoured another son by Consort Wang, Sun Ba (孫霸) the Prince of Lu, and permitted Sun Ba to have the same staffing level as the crown prince — a move that was objected to by a number of officials as encouraging Sun Ba to compete with Sun He, but Sun Quan did not listen to them. After 245, when Sun He and Sun Ba began to have separate residences, their relationship detriorated further, and Sun Ba began to scheme at how to seize heir status from Sun He. Fanned by gossip from his daughter Sun Dahu (孫大虎), Sun Quan blamed the princes' mother Consort Wang for this — and she died in fear. He also cut off Sun He and Sun Ba's access to the officials who supported them in hopes of receiving future favours, but this could not stop Sun Ba's machinations. Indeed, when Lu Xun tried to intervene to protect Sun He, Sun Ba falsely accused him of many crimes, and Sun Quan became provoked so much that he repeatedly rebuked Lu, causing Lu to die in anger.
In 250, fed up with Sun Ba's constant attacks against Sun He, Sun Quan carried out an inexplicable combination of actions, He forced Sun Ba to commit suicide, while deposing Sun He (who had not been shown to have committed any crimes), and instead creating his youngest son, Sun Liang, crown prince to replace Sun He. This move was opposed by his son-in-law Zhu Ju (the husband of Sun Xiaohu), but Zhu's pleas not only did not help Sun He, but also resulted in his own death, as Sun Quan forced him to commit suicide. Many other officials who also opposed the move, as well as officials who had supported Sun Ba, were executed.
Around this time, Sun Quan also had his generals destroy a number of levees near the border with Wei, creating large areas of flooding, in order to obstruct potential attacks from Wei.
In 251, Sun Quan created the first empress of his reign — Sun Liang's mother Consort Pan. (Previously, he had a succession of wives, but never made any of them empress, except for his favourite, Lady Bu, who was created empress posthumously after her death in 238.) Later that year, however, he realised that Sun He was blameless and wanted to recall him from his exile, but was persuaded not to do so by his daughter Sun Dahu and Sun Jun, who had supported Sun Liang's ascension. He realised that he was getting very old (69 by this point) and, at Sun Jun's recommendation, commissioned Zhuge Jin's son Zhuge Ke as the future regent for Sun Liang, even though he correctly had misgivings about how Zhuge Ke was arrogant and had overly high opinion of his own abilities. At that time virtually the entire empire, awed by Zhuge's prior military victories, was convinced that Zhuge would be the correct choice for regent.
In 252, as Sun Quan neared death, Empress Pan was murdered, but how she was murdered remains a controversy. Wu officials claimed that her servants, unable to stand her temper, strangled her while she was asleep, while a number of historians, including Hu Sanxing, the commentator to Sima Guang's Zizhi Tongjian, believed that top Wu officials were complicit, as they feared that she would seize power as empress dowager after Sun Quan's death. Later that year, Sun Quan died at the age of 70, and Sun Liang succeeded him. Sun Quan was buried in a mausoleum at Purple Mountain in present-day Nanjing.
- Huangwu (黄武; 黃武; Huángwǔ; Huang-wu) 222–229
- Huanglong (黄龙; 黃龍; Huánglóng; Huang-lung) 229–231
- Jiahe (嘉禾; Jiāhé; Chia-ho) 232–238
- Chiwu (赤乌; 赤烏; Chìwū; Chih-wu) 238–251
- Taiyuan (太元; Taìyuán; Tai-yuan) 251–252
- Shenfeng (神凤; 神鳳; Shénfèng; Shen-feng) 252
In the selection of hero cards in the Chinese card game San Guo Sha, there is also a Sun Quan hero that players can select at the beginning of the game.
In the movie The Weird Man by the Shaw Brothers Studio, Sun Quan is shown at the end of the film and Sun Ce names him successor before he died from his injuries sustained by Xu Gong and Yu Ji's spirit.
Sun Quan also appears in the mobile video game Puzzle & Dragons as part of the Three Kingdoms Gods series.