Beethoven’s Cause of Death


A study found that five strands of Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair were a “perfect genetic match” and revealed that he had a genetic predisposition for liver disease, which was likely a contributing factor to his death at the age of 56.

It also showed that Beethoven had a hepatitis B infection leading up to his death and that there was an an extrapair paternity event in his paternal line seven generations before his birth. The study also disproved the 2007 lead poisoning theory that was previously suggested.

The hairs used for the study were gathered from public and private collections in the last six years of Beethoven’s life.

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