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Tutankhamun 'died of bone disease and malaria'

17th February 2010

Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun could have died from malaria after being struck by a rare bone disorder, new research has suggested.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association aimed to discover the true cause of the death of the famous 'boy king' and put to rest the various theories of his demise.

Dr Zahi Hawass, head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, and his team conducted anthropological, radiological and genetic tests on the mummies of Tutankhamun and ten of his relatives.

The findings seem to dispel previous claims that the pharaoh died of either Marfan syndrome, septicaemia, a fat embolism after a femur fracture, poisoning or murder by a blow to the head.

'Avascular bone necrosis [a condition in which poor blood supply to the bone leads to weakening or destruction of an area of it] in conjunction with the malarial infection is the most likely cause of death in Tutankhamun,' the researchers concluded.

In an interview with the AFP, Dr Hawass said that he is opposed to a proposal to allow the sale of some ancient Egyptian relics, as it would damage the country's link to its heritage.

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