Ludvig van Beethoven is one of the most influential composers of all time, a man whose legacy has lasted for over two centuries and will continue to do so indefinitely. His symphonies, sonatas and concertos are still celebrated and studied to this very day. Given how long ago he lived, however (Beethoven was born in 1770) there are still many things we don't entirely know about his life or, for that matter, his death. For years now there has been a prolonged debate over how exactly the man died.
An autopsy revealed extensive liver damage which was possibly caused by excessive alcohol consumption. But a whole range of other causes have been put forward with some legitimacy: syphilis, hepatitis, sacoidosis and Whipple's disease, to name a few. More recently, however, Beethoven's hair has been studied (following his death, several friends clipped locks of his hair take keep as a memorial) which has led to several controversial assertions that he was poisoned to death by extreme doses of lead-based treatments by his doctor.