Beethoven’s doctor ‘accidentally killed’ composer

  • 30 August 2007

After months of forensic-style examinations, a Viennese pathologist claims the doctor treating Beethoven up to his death in 1827 inadvertently killed the composer.

Christian Reiter has completed painstaking research examining strands of Beethoven’s hair, and offers an elaborated explanation that the virtuoso pianist was killed by lead poisoning.

His analysis, which has been published in Beethoven Journal, claims that as his doctor Andreas Wawruch was treating for fluid inside the abdomen, he was increasing the lethal doses of lead poisoning permeating an already ailing liver.

The head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Vienna’s Medical University said: “His death was due to the treatments by Dr Wawruch,” adding: “But you cannot blame Dr Wawruch – how was he to know that Beethoven already had a serious liver ailment?”

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