3 Dead Guys We Just Can't Leave Alone

Their causes of death still puzzle researchers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2011 8:44 AM CST
3 Dead Guys We Just Can't Leave Alone
A sheet of stamps featuring the portrait of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is seen 9 January 2006 in Augsburg, southern Germany.   (Getty Images)

These folks have been dead for centuries—and yet we still won’t leave them alone. Discover presents a list of celebs whose mysterious deaths keep us snooping:

  • Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1961, researchers found a lot of arsenic in the emperor’s hair, prompting speculation that he was poinsoned. Two years ago, experts ruled this out: his arsenic levels hadn’t changed much during his life, and family members also carried high levels of the stuff.

  • King Tut. Years of genetic tests revealed that inbreeding and disease may have left the young pharaoh struggling to walk. But the specifics of his ailments are a subject of debate—and ethical questions about his privacy.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The composer was buried in an unmarked grave, so all the evidence we have about his symptoms comes from 18th-century accounts. Researchers recently compared this data with the causes of death of some 5,000 of his contemporaries in Vienna, and concluded that he may have had untreated strep throat.
For the rest of the list, which includes Abraham Lincoln and Russia's last czar, click through to Discover.
(Read more Napoleon stories.)

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