THE CAUSE OF P. I. TCHAIKOVSKY’S (1840 – 1893) DEATH: CHOLERA, SUICIDE, OR BOTH?
The death of P. I. Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893) excites imagination even today. According to the »official scenario«, Tchaikovsky had suffered from abdominal colic before being infected with cholera. On 2 November 1893, he drank a glass of unboiled water. A few hours later, he had diarrhoea and started vomiting. The following day anuria occured. He lost consciousness and died on 6 November (or on 25 Oktober according to the Russian Julian calendar). Soon after composer's death, rumors of forced suicide began to circulate. Based on the opinion of the musicologist Alexandra Orlova, the main reason for the composer's tragic fate lies in his homosexual inclination. The author of this article, after examining various sources and arguments, concludes that P. I. Tchaikovsky died of cholera.
Key words: History of medicine 19th century, pathografy, cause of death, musicians, P. I. Tchaikovsky, Russia.