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

By Eleanor Barkhorn

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 failureā€”but fans of the 1984 film Amadeus probably suspect a more sinister reason: poisoning at the hands of Mozart's rival, Salieri:

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