The mysterious death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the tender age of 35 has long fascinated scholars, but researchers now have a new theory.
The composer – who died in Vienna in 1791 – may have succumbed to complications from a sore throat, caused by a bacterial infection.
The University of Amsterdam team think the streptococcal infection triggered a fatal swelling of his kidneys.
Previous theories include poisoning, rheumatic fever and eating bad pork.
Some say the Austrian maestro simply overworked himself into an early grave.
The latest study is published in this week’s issue of the US medical magazine, Annals of Internal Medicine.
At the time of Mozart’s death the cause was recorded as “severe miliary fever”, and no autopsy was carried out.
His remains were dispersed seven years later when the composer’s grave was dug up so it could be reused, making forensic analysis all but impossible.
The paper’s authors, Richard Zegers, Andreas Weigl and Andrew Steptoe, reached their conclusion by comparing historical accounts of the maestro’s illness – fever, rash, limb pain and swelling – with illnesses prevalent at the time of his death. …