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Vitamin D-deficiency may have killed Mozart

Washington: Had Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart spent a few minutes basking the Sun, it might have helped the young Austrian composer live longer, researchers say.

Many theories have been raised in the past about the nature of Mozart`s untimely death, ranging from head trauma to rheumatic fever.

Now, researchers claimed that lack of vitamin D could have killed the legendary musician who died at the age of 35, LiveScience reported.

An important vitamin in fighting off disease, Vitamin D is produced in the body from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun. Where Mozart lived, in Vienna, these low levels of UVB rays would have easily caused vitamin D deficiencies, said the researchers.

William Grant of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center in San Francisco and Stefan Pilz of Austria`s Medical University of Graz suggested that low levels of UVB rays during the winter, along with his nocturnal habits could have made Mozart vitamin D-deficient.

"Mozart did much of his composing at night, so would have slept during much of the day. 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," they wrote in the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists.

Mozart had been sickly for years. This deficiency could have led to an increased number of infections, especially a few months into winter, the researchers said.

They hypothesised that the day Mozart died at age 35 (on December 5, 1791) was two to three months into the "vitamin D winter", when ultraviolet B rays are lowest.

Vitamin D deficiencies have taken the lives of other composers, most notably Gustav Mahler, who died in May 1911 of a bacterial infection around the lining of his heart.

Such bacterial infections are easier to fight off when vitamin D levels are normal, the researchers said.

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