Dietary fibre intake has been associated with a lower risk of mortality; however, findings on the association of different sources of dietary fibre with mortality are conflicting. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the prospective cohort studies to assess the relation between cereal fibre intake and cause-specific mortality. Medline/PubMed, SCOPUS, EMBASE, ISI web of Science and Google scholar were searched up to April 2015. Eligible prospective cohort studies were included if they provided hazard ratios (HR) or relative risks (RR) and corresponding 95 % CI for the association of cereal fibre intake and mortality from all causes, CVD, cancer and inflammatory diseases. The study-specific HR were pooled by using the random-effects model. In total, fourteen prospective studies that examined the association of cereal fibre intake with mortality from all causes (n 48 052 death), CVD (n 16 882 death), cancer (n 19 489 death) and inflammatory diseases (n 1092 death) were included. The pooled adjusted HR of all-cause mortality for the highest v. the lowest category of cereal fibre intake was 0·81 (95 % CI 0·79, 0·83). Consumption of cereal fibre intake was associated with an 18 % lower risk of CVD mortality (RR 0·82; 95 % CI 0·78, 0·86). Moreover, an inverse significant association was observed between cereal fibre intake and risk of death from cancer (RR 0·85; 95 % CI 0·81, 0·89). However, no significant association was seen between cereal fibre intake and inflammation-related mortality. This meta-analysis provides further evidence that cereal fibre intake was protectively associated with mortality from all causes, CVD and cancer.