Hair study reveals beethoven had lead poisoning(2)
Before beethoven died, he wrote a letter to his bro thers that said:"as soon as i am dead, if dr. Schmidt i s still alive, ask him in my name to discover my diseas e, and attach this written document to his at least as much as possible the world may be reconciled to me afte r my death."
Walsh said that was one of the things that motivate d him to discover the answer to the musician's mysterio us illness.
"i feel in a way that i've been asked by beethoven himself to do this work," walsh said. " he often wondre d why he was misreable all his life,why this illness ha d destoryed his social life and the enjoyment that he s hould have derived from his wonderful music. So we're f ulfilling part of his wishes, allbeit(many) years later ."
The hair sample was clipped from beethoven's head t he day after he died by a young musician, ferdinand hil ler. It was then passed from generation to generation o f hillers, and would up in the hands of a danish physic ian, kay fremming, who was deeply involved in the effor t to save jews in nazi-occupied denmark. It is believed fremming was given the hair ingratitude for his work on behalf of the jews.
After fremming's death, his daughter sold it at sot heloy's in london, and it was pucchased in 1994 by two american beethoven enthusiast, ira brilliant and che gu evare, who them launched the research project. The jour ney of the hair is the subbject of a book, beethoven's hair, which is being released this week by broadway boo ks, and was written by russell martin.
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