A group of scientists from the University of Cambridge managed to decipher the DNA of the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, but they could not accurately determine the cause of his premature death.
A group of researchers led by Tristan Begg analyzed Beethoven's hair strands, which were kept in private collections (there were 8 strands in total, but only 5 were recognized as authentic), and based on gene sequencing, they came to the conclusion about what diseases the composer suffered from.
Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770 and by the age of 30 began to lose his hearing, and at the age of 48 he lost it almost completely. At the same time, he continued to compose music, but he could no longer play the piano.
The composer died in Vienna in 1827 at the age of 56.
They began to argue about the causes of the composer's death almost immediately after his death, but for two centuries it was not possible to come to an unambiguous conclusion.
Scientists from Cambridge could not do this with complete certainty, but they found that Beethoven had a genetic predisposition to liver diseases (this was exacerbated by addiction to alcohol), and at the end of his life he was infected with hepatitis B.
According to Tristan Begg, having studied the composer's recordings in the last 10 years of his life, scientists came to the conclusion that Beethoven regularly drank alcohol, but it is difficult to estimate the volume of consumption.
"While most of his contemporaries claim that by the standards of early 19th-century Vienna, his consumption was moderate, it was likely that he was drinking alcohol that today is considered bad for the liver," he said.
"If alcohol consumption was significant over a long period of time, then, combined with a genetic predisposition, this could cause cirrhosis."