|Tchaikovsky's death mask|
Officially he died of cholera but for many his death was suspicious and there are various intriguing theories about the true cause.
Cholera was common at the time and everyone knew that you must not drink unboiled water. Certainly for an educated man in high society it is very unlikely that he would have drunk it accidentally.
He was a very important highly regarded person in Russia. He was also gay, which at that time was illegal and could ruin your reputation.
The main theories link his death to his homosexuality:
- suicide due to personal problems including his infatuation with his nephew which could never be revealed.
- contraction of cholera through unhygienic sexual practices
- suicide by "court of honour". Eight of his close circle convened with him and convinced him that the only way for him to avoid a massive scandal was for him to kill himself.
- suicide or murder ordered by Tsar Alexander III, in order to avoid scandal.
You can find plenty of articles and opinions on the internet which make interesting reading. Here are a few:
- Daily Telegraph