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Chopin’s Cause of Death Determined

Friday, November 17, 2017

Chopin enlarged heartWARSAW, POLAND—In 2014, scientists led by Michal Witt of the Institute of Human Genetics at the Polish Academy of Sciences were given access to Polish composer Frédéric Chopin’s heart, which had been removed from his body after his death in Paris in 1849 and taken to Warsaw, where it has remained. According to a report in Live Science, the records of Chopin’s original autopsy have been lost, but the researchers briefly examined the organ, and photographed it, in an effort to determine the cause of his death at age 39. The heart, preserved in a liquid thought to be cognac, was “enlarged and floppy.” Witt said the team concluded Chopin’s immediate cause of death was pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane around the heart, a likely complication of tuberculosis. To read about investigations of ancient cardiovascular health, go to “Heart Attack of the Mummies.”

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