In the general population, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference are recognized risk factors for several chronic diseases and all-cause mortality. However, whether these associations are the same for older adults is less clear. The association of baseline BMI and waist circumference with all-cause and cause-specific mortality was investigated in 18,209 Australian and US participants (mean age: 75.1 ± 4.5 years) from the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study, followed up for a median of 6.9 years (IQR: 5.7, 8.0). There were substantially different relationships observed in men and women. In men, the lowest risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality was observed with a BMI in the range 25.0-29.9 kg/m2 [HR25-29.9 vs 21-24.9 kg/m2: 0.85; 95% CI, 0.73-1.00] while the highest risk was in those who were underweight [HRBMI <21 kg/m2 vs BMI 21-24.9 kg/m2: 1.82; 95% CI 1.30-2.55], leading to a clear U-shaped relationship. In women, all-cause mortality was highest in those with the lowest BMI leading to a J-shaped relationship (HRBMI <21 kg/m2 vs BMI 21-24.9 kg/m2: 1.64; 95% CI 1.26-2.14). Waist circumference showed a weaker relationship with all-cause mortality in both men and women. There was little evidence of a relationship between either index of body size and subsequent cancer mortality in men or women, while non-cardiovascular non-cancer mortality was higher in underweight participants. For older men, being overweight was found to be associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, while among both men and women, a BMI in the underweight category was associated with a higher risk. Waist circumference alone had little association with all-cause or cause-specific mortality risk.Trial registration ASPREE https://ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT01038583.