Background and aims: Depressed mood and exhaustion (DEEX) have gained attention as a risk predictor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Studies to estimate its ranking in prediction models are sparse. Methods: The study included 3428 men aged 45-74 years who participated in one of three population-based MONICA/KORA Augsburg surveys conducted between 1984 and 1995. Within a follow-up time of 10 years (31,791 person-years), 557 cases of all-cause mortality and 269 fatal CVD events were observed. Adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess mortality risks for DEEX and five classical cardiovascular risk factors. The predictive ability was evaluated by the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve, the integrated discrimination improvement statistics and the net classification improvement. Results: The (crude) absolute mortality risk for DEEX was 23.1 cases per 1000 person-years for all-cause and 11.2 for CVD mortality. The adjusted hazard ratios of 1.52 for all-cause and 1.52 for CVD mortality (p < 0.01) were higher than those for hypercholesterolemia and obesity, but lower than for hypertension, smoking and diabetes. The improvements in risk prediction from DEEX were comparable to those of hypercholesterolemia and obesity, but substantially lower than those of hypertension, smoking and diabetes. The adjusted population-attributable risk (PAR) for DEEX accounted for about 15% for all-cause and CVD mortality, which gives DEEX a middle ranking amongst the classical risk factors. Conclusions: DEEX is a strong predictor of mortality risk, ranking in a medium position amongst classical somatic risk factors.