Polish composer Frederic Chopin, who was hounded by hallucinations during his relatively short life, probably had epilepsy, according to a new study.
Chopin, who was plagued by poor health throughout his life, died in 1849 at the age of 39 as a result of chronic lung disease, which has recently been attributed to cystic fibrosis, based on the composer's family history.
The researchers said that while his well-documented bouts of melancholy have been attributed to bipolar disorder or clinical depression, the hallucinatory episodes to which he was also prone have tended to be overlooked.
They based their opinions on Chopin's own description of his hallucinatory episodes and accounts of his life by friends and pupils, according to Oneindia.
"The hallucinations of Chopin were considered the manifestation of a sensitive soul, a romantic cliché," said Manuel Várquez Caruncho, a radiologist at the Xeral-Calde Hospital Complex in Lugo, Spain. "We think that to split the romanticized view from reality could help to better understand the man."
The results of Chopin's autopsy have long been lost, but plenty of scientists and historians have written about the composer's health, Discovery News reports.