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Most people are aware that Beethoven suffered from deafness since adulthood and went on to compose some the most beautiful and timeless pieces of music of all time. Although the cause for his deafness has never been determined, it is believed that he suffered from an auto-immune disease caused by the malformation of his inner ear combined with a bout of typhus he experienced as a youngster. His condition was so severe that during his last symphony performance, he had to be turned around to see his audience giving him standing ovation.

On deafness

He was so distraught about his condition, even in its early stages in 1801. He wrote to a friend that he found it difficult to communicate with people as he often could not hear them and that he was how deeply saddened about his hearing loss (which was getting progressively worse), especially given his profession as a musician. He described it as a “terrible handicap.” The musical genius developed an alcohol dependency that would ultimately lead to his death. He died of liver damage during a poetically severe thunderstorm on March 26, 1827.

Countin’ coffee beans

Born into a musical family, Beethoven learned the fundamentals of musical composition from his father at a very young age. His father was a court singer, but also a drunkard.  Young Beethoven endured severe punishments and disciplinary actions. As a result, Beethoven developed obsessive tendencies.

One such tendency: The legendary composer drank coffee religiously.  Historians often note that he would meticulously count coffee beans. Sixty, to be exact. He meticulously hand counted the beans himself, sometimes double checking. Starbucks be damned — he had to personally prepare it in his glass coffee-maker, even when his guests were around.

Ludwig van Beethoven died at the age of 56, three years after his final symphony in Theatre an der Wien in Vienna, Austria.