There had been previous attempts to extract genetic material from Beethoven's skull fragments in the past but to no avail. But thanks to modern advancements in DNA sequencing, we now have a better understanding of the composer's cause of death. A recent study suggested that the composer died from liver disease caused by several factors. Found in his DNA are two copies of a gene called PNPLA3, which is linked to liver cirrhosis. Also found are two variants of the HFE gene, which is a gene that can cause hereditary haemochromatosis. Finally, traces of Hepatitis B virus were found in his DNA. It also didn't help that Beethoven became a heavy drinker, especially in the year before his eventual demise.
Historical accounts of the composer's death seem to strengthen the findings from the recent DNA analysis. It is said that he developed jaundice, and his limbs swelled months before he passed away. Both conditions are telling signs of liver failure.
The loss of Beethoven's hearing remains a mystery, however. Perhaps a mystery that will probably be solved sometime in the future.
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