Special Report

15 Famous People Who Allegedly Died of Food Poisoning

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Henry I
> Known as: King of England
> Date of death: Dec. 1, 1135

Henry I of England, the fourth son of William the Conqueror, ruled from 1100 to 1135, and was known as a harsh but effective monarch. According to a chronicler, he died in the Normandy town of Lyons-la-Forêt – supposedly after eating too many lampreys (a type of jawless fish with sharp teeth) against his physician’s advice, though many historians are convinced that it was food poisoning that claimed his life..

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Pope Clement VII
> Known as: Pope and ruler of the Papal States
> Date of death: Sept. 25, 1534

Pope Clement VII was head of the church from 1523 until his death in 1534, and oversaw a particularly turbulent and consequential political, military, and religious era at the tail end of the Italian Renaissance. He is best known for approving Copernicus’s theory that the earth revolves around the sun and commissioning Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” fresco in the Sistine Chapel. After months of illness, which included liver failure and blindness, he died at age 56, and while his death was attributed to eating poisonous mushrooms at the time, the cause is debated among modern historians.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Charles VI
> Known as: Holy Roman Emperor
> Date of death: Oct. 20, 1740

The Holy Roman Emperor and ruler of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy Charles VI was in power from 1711 until his death in 1740. After a day spent hunting in cold and wet conditions, Charles fell ill and died; the official cause of death was eating poisonous death cap mushrooms. His death sparked the War of the Austrian Succession, which plagued his successor, Maria Theresa.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Anton Fils
> Known as: German composer
> Date of death: March 14 (?), 1760

Anton Fils was a German composer who penned at least 34 symphonies and about 30 concertos in his short life (he died at age 26). In an odd bit of classical music trivia, a biographer attributed his death to a habit of eating spiders, which he claimed tasted like strawberries.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Johann Schobert
> Known as: German composer and harpsichordist
> Date of death: Aug. 28, 1767

Johann Schobert was an Alsatian composer and harpsichordist in the household of Louis François I de Bourbon, prince de Conti, and is best known as a major early influence on Mozart. In 1767 he went mushroom picking with his family. Two restaurant chefs turned him away when he asked them to cook what he’d foraged, because they recognized the mushrooms as poisonous. Schobert refused to believe them, and a doctor friend reinforced that belief, so he made them into a soup at home. Schobert, his wife, the doctor, and all but one of his children died as a result.

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