How the Mighty Have Fallen: Fatal Infectious Diseases of Divine Composers

Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2004 Jun;18(2):311-39, table of contents. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2004.02.002.


Their music is immortal, but famous composers of the last centuries were not. Up to 50 years ago, microbial infections were a major cause of mortality and showed composers no special mercy. They died of various infectious diseases. By application of modern intensive care measurements and effective antibiotics, many of them would have been saved. Disease and painful death brought the work of these divine artists to the level of immortal creations that both inspire and astonish the mortal audience.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Cholera / history
  • Communicable Diseases / history*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / history
  • Famous Persons*
  • Female
  • History, 15th Century
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music / history*
  • Pneumonia / history
  • Sepsis / history
  • Syphilis / history
  • Tuberculosis / history