Famous People's Cause of Death Honore de Balzac

About the famous French writer Honore de Balzac, biography, history and cause of death.



Born: May 20, 1799

Died: Aug. 17, 1850

Cause of Death: Diseased heart

Physician's Notes: Considered by some critics as the greatest novelist who ever lived, Balzac put his excellent health to the test by constant strain until, in 1834, he suffered a slight "brain congestion" and dizzy spells. These recurred two years later and were diagnosed as arachnoiditis, an inflammation of one of the three brain covers. He drank huge amounts of thick, black coffee, which caused stomach cramps and contributed to his high blood pressure, which resulted in hypertrophy (abnormal enlargement) of the left ventricle of his heart. His body became flabby, his skin sallow, and he developed nervous twitches in his face. In 1840 he had a bout with hepatitis and suffered acute lethargy, more facial twitchings, and headaches. Working by candlelight ruined his eyes. In Russia, in 1847, he developed bronchitis, and when he returned to Paris exhausted three years later, his eyesight was completely gone. When he arrived home, the novelist found his faithful servant had suffered a mental breakdown. Balzac remarked, "What an omen! I shall never leave this house alive." He never did. Within a few months, his overworked heart quit. His masterpiece, La Comedie Humaine, was never finished. As he lay delirious on his deathbed, he called out, "Send for Bianchon [the famous doctor of La Comedie Humaine]. He'll save me."

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