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J R Soc Med. 1983 September; 76(9): 776–785.
PMCID: PMC1439384

Mozart's illnesses and death.


Throughout his life Mozart suffered frequent attacks of tonsillitis. In 1784 he developed post-streptococcal Schönlein-Henoch syndrome which caused chronic glomerular nephritis and chronic renal failure. His fatal illness was due to Schönlein-Henoch purpura, with death from cerebral haemorrhage and bronchopneumonia. Venesection(s) may have contributed to his death.

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Selected References

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  • BYWATERS EG, ISDALE I, KEMPTON JJ. Schönlein-Henoch purpura; evidence for a group A beta-haemolytic streptococcal aetiology. Q J Med. 1957 Apr;26(102):161–175. [PubMed]
  • Carp L. Mozart: his tragic life and controversial death. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1970 Apr;46(4):267–280. [PubMed]
  • Cream JJ, Gumpel JM, Peachey RD. Schönlein-Henoch purpura in the adult. A study of 77 adults with anaphylactoid or Schönlein-Henoch purpura. Q J Med. 1970 Oct;39(156):461–484. [PubMed]
  • Fluker JL. Mozart. His health and death. Practitioner. 1972 Dec;209(254):841–845. [PubMed]
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  • GREITHER A. Mozart und die Arzte; seine Krankheiten und sein Tod. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1956 Feb 3;81(5):165–concl. [PubMed]
  • HUGHES W, DODGSON MC, MACLENNAN DC. Chronic cerebral hypertensive disease. Lancet. 1954 Oct 16;267(6842):770–774. [PubMed]
  • Reichsman F. Presidential address 1981. Life experiences and creativity of great composers: a psychosomaticist's view. Psychosom Med. 1981 Aug;43(4):291–300. [PubMed]
  • Roe C. Quaint little Wolfgang. Med J Aust. 1971 Dec 25;2(26):1317–1322. [PubMed]
  • SCARLETT EP. THE ILLNESSES AND DEATH OF MOZART. Arch Intern Med. 1964 Aug;114:311–316. [PubMed]
  • WECHSLER H, WESTFALL M, LATTIMER JK. The earliest signs and symptoms in 127 male patients with genitourinary tuberculosis. J Urol. 1960 Jun;83:801–803. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press