Mystery of Napoleon's death solved, researchers say





Putting to rest a 200-year-old mystery, scientists say Napoleon Bonaparte died from an advanced case of gastric cancer and not arsenic poisoning as some had speculated.

After being defeated by the British in 1815, the French Emperor was exiled to St. Helena--an island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Six years later, at the age of 52, Bonaparte whispered his last words, "Head of Army!"

An autopsy at the time determined that stomach cancer was the cause of his death. But some arsenic found in 1961 in the ruler's hair sparked rumors of poisoning. Had Napoleon escaped exile, he could have changed the balance of power in Europe; therefore murder speculations didn't seem outlandish.

However, a new study--combining current medical knowledge, autopsy reports, Bonaparte's physician memoirs, eyewitness accounts, and family medical histories--found that gastrointestinal bleeding was the immediate cause of death.


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