BEETHOVEN Died from Lead Poisoning.

Tests on the hair and skull fragments of Ludwig van Beethoven show the legendary 19th century German composer died from lead poisoning, scientists say.

Bone fragments from Beethoven's skull had high concentrations of lead, matching an earlier finding of lead in his hair, say researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

"The finding of elevated lead in Beethoven's skull, along with DNA results indicating authenticity of the bone-hair relics, provides solid evidence that Beethoven suffered from a toxic overload of lead," says Dr Bill Walsh, director of the Beethoven Research Project.

"There is no doubt in my mind ... he was a victim of lead poisoning," he says.