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Did Darkness Kill Mozart?

And we mean that literally
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2011 5:11 PM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2011 7:00 PM CDT
Did Darkness Kill Mozart? Researchers Speculate He Was Low on Vitamin D
Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart probably could have used a little more sun.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – If Mozart would've just gotten outside a little more, he might have lived longer. Researchers say added exposure to sunlight would have raised the composer's vitamin D level—an important vitamin in fighting off infection, reports LiveScience. Mozart died of an unknown illness in 1791 at age 35. Our bodies create vitamin D from ultraviolet light from the sun, but in many places during winter—like Vienna—the sunlight is insufficient.

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"Mozart did much of his composing at night, so would have slept during much of the day," write the researchers. "At the latitude of Vienna, 48 degrees N, it is impossible to make vitamin D from solar ultraviolet-B irradiance for about 6 months of the year. Mozart died on December 5, 1791, two to three months into the vitamin D winter." (Read more Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stories.)

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