Scientists Saw Chopin's Pickled Heart and Now They Know What Killed Him

There's something for every music fan in this extremely disgusting story.

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07 November 2017, 9:16am

Image via Wikimedia Commons

From the Billboard Hot 100, to super gross stories about the pickled hearts of 19th Century composers, your friends at Noisey have got it all! To that end, the following is a super gross story about the pickled heart of 19th Century composer – though we're confident that all music fans can find something to love here:

As the Guardian has it, the American Journal of Medicine last week published research which stated that Chopin, the composer who died aged 39 in 1849, was most likely killed by pericarditis, a complication of tuberculosis. This is of interest because the cause of his death had never previously been confirmed. And do you wanna know how they found out? It's because Chopin had his heart pickled in a jar like a goddamn onion, and a bunch of scientists got to have a look at it. I think you'll agree, classical music fan or not, that this is extremely gnarly. Like, it's actually pretty metal when you think about it? I feel like metalheads can get on board with this. (Also: people who are just super into industrial?)

But, the plot thickens. Basically your boy Chopin was so scared that he'd end up being buried alive, he made sure that when he died, he'd be cut open and his heart removed so that everyone knew he was definitely dead. That is indeed what happened, and then later on, someone put the heart in a jar of cognac. Essentially, his heart was pickled in a bottle of Henny – which is a) pretty luxe stuff, and b) one for the hip hop heads, no? I told you there was something for everyone.

Anyway, the scientists who diagnosed the cause of Chopin's death were able to do so because they were the first people to examine the heart since 1945, and medicine has advanced quite a bit since then. They identified lesions and white fibrous material on its surface, in keeping with symptoms of pericarditis, and so they're pretty confident that they've probably solved the mystery that has plagued classical music for almost two centuries. Let's give it up for medicine, and for Chopin, for bringing music fans together with his goth-as-fuck heart.

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