What Killed Mozart? A Look at the 118 Possible Causes of Death

More than 200 years after his death, historians and music-lovers still don't know what killed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But that doesn't stop them from trying to solve the centuries-old mystery. The New York Times reports that as many as 118 theories abound for why the celebrated composer died at the age of 35:

A modest industry of medical speculation has grown up around the subject, evidence of our fascination with what cut down great creative artists in history. In Mozart's case published speculation began within a month of his death in 1791, and musicologists, physicians and medical scholars have regularly joined the fray ever since.

The article goes on to say it was likely kidney failure—but fans of the 1984 film Amadeus probably suspect a more sinister reason: poisoning at the hands of Mozart's rival, Salieri:


Read the full story at the New York Times.

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Entertainment

Just In