2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
The famous composer Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) apparently died of pericarditis (heart disease) caused by tuberculosis. As reported in The American Journal of Medicine, Polish doctors came to this conclusion after examining the composer's heart, which is kept in Warsaw.
Chopin Polonaise - Ball at the Lambert Hotel. Ball of Polish emigrants at the residence of Prince Czartoryski in Paris
Chopin was born in 1810 in Poland, in the Warsaw suburb of Zelazowa Wola. Even in his youth, he was in fragile health, and in 1838 he began to suffer from a chronic lung disease, apparently tuberculosis. Over the years, his health deteriorated, and in 1849 the composer died in Paris at the age of 39. Since Chopin was afraid that he might be buried alive, he asked that after his death his body be opened, his heart removed and buried in Poland. Chopin's sister took his heart home. Since 1945 it has been kept in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.
Doctors are still arguing about the reasons for the death of the composer. The autopsy results were lost, so several versions are now proposed: tuberculosis, stenosis (narrowing) of the mitral valve, genetic diseases of cystic fibrosis, or congenital alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, which can lead to the development of pulmonary emphysema.
In 2014, Polish doctors led by Dr. Michał Witt from the Institute of Human Genetics in Poznan opened the urn with Chopin's heart and examined it to assess how well it was preserved and, if necessary, restore it.
Urn with Chopin's heart in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Warsaw
The heart was kept in an amber-brown liquid. Apparently, it was cognac, which since the time of the French Revolution has been used to preserve human organs and tissues. After a visual examination of the heart, doctors came to the conclusion that at the end of his life Chopin developed pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium - the outer shell of the heart), which was caused by tuberculosis. It is one of the most serious complications of the disease with a high rate of death. According to the authors of the article, rapidly progressive pericarditis, which developed in a short time, became the direct cause of the composer's death.