Articles

What caused Mozart’s death and where did he die?

In health, History, music, science on August 18, 2009 by Editor Z

Lovers of a great murder mystery will be disappointed because the legendary composer was not poisoned or murdered. The answer according to a new study is an epidemic of strep throat that at the time had broken out in Vienna. Dun Dun Dun Dun!!!! Yeah I know I bet you saw that last line coming.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The death of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the age of 35 may have been caused by complications stemming from strep throat, according to a Dutch study published on Monday. Since the composer’s death in 1791, there have been various theories about the cause of his untimely end, from intentional poisoning, to rheumatic fever, to trichinosis, a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork.

On his death certificate it was officially recorded that the cause of death was hitziges Frieselfieber, or “heated miliary fever,” referring to a rash that looks like millet seeds.

But researchers from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands said studies on his death have generally been based on less-than-reliable evidence, like accounts from people who witnessed Mozart’s final days, written decades after his death.

Their new study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was based on information from official death registers for Vienna in the winter of 1791 that places Mozart’s death in a wider context. He died in Vienna.

“Our findings suggest that Mozart fell victim to an epidemic of strep throat infection that was contracted by many Viennese people in Mozart’s month of death, and that Mozart was one of several persons in that epidemic that developed a deadly kidney complication,” researcher Richard Zegers, of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, told Reuters Health.


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