What did Mozart die of?

He is one of the greatest composers of all-time.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on December 5, 1791. The musical genius was only 35.

Mozart was the subject of a 1984 Oscar Best Picture-winning drama that included the famous maestro’s undignified burial.

That was more than 230 years ago, and what Mozart really died of has remained a mystery.

Of course the most popular rumor for a few centuries has been that rival composer Antonio Salieri murdered Mozart in a fit of jealousy. That’s just one theory. More than 130 post-mortem diagnoses in medical literature have been suggested.


A fever.

Edema caused by retention of body fluid.



Kidney failure.


Abdominal pain.

Trichinosis from eating poorly cooked or raw pork.


We may never know.

Martin Hatzinger, Jurgen Hatzinger, and Michael Sohn wrote in the National Library of Medicine:

Next time we listen to Mozart, we should remember that this apparently happy person was actually a precocious boy, ripped of his childhood, whose short life was an endless chain of complaints, fatigue, misery, concern, and malady.

My good friend and former colleague at WUWM-FM, classical announcer and author Obie Yadgar now hosts a weekly Sunday morning music program, “Obie’s Opus.”

On his recent November 27th program Obie told a revealing anecdote about Mozart. Click the play button below and scroll to the 35:10 mark to hear it:

This 1986 album was the ensemble’s debut recording and sold nearly a million copies.

One thought on “What did Mozart die of?

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (12/12/22) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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