• Martin Hatzinger
  • Jürgen Hatzinger
  • Michael Sohn


The early and unexpected death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzburg, 1756 – Vienna, 1791) was a mystery from the very first day and the subject of wildest speculations and adventurous assertions. Over the last 100 years, medical science has investigated the physical sufferings and the mysterious death of Mozart with increasing intensity. The aim of this article was to recreate Mozart’s pathography relying on the his correspondence with father Leopold and sister Nannerl and on reports from his physicians and contemporaries. The rumour that Mozart was poisoned followed shortly after his death on 5 December 1791, at the age of 35, and has survived to this day. The alleged culprits were his physician van Swieten, Mozart’s freemasons lodge, and the Imperial Chapel Master Salieri. Mozart however died of chronic kidney disease and ultimately of uraemia. If kidney damage reaches a critical point, even a minimum additional stress can lead to its failure. This usually occurs in the fourth decade of life. 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.


Key words: History of medicine, Mozart, kidney dysfunction, uraemia