How Did King Tut Die? Unraveling the Mystery of the Young Pharaoh’s Demise

How Did King Tut Die? Unraveling the Mystery of the Young Pharaoh's Demise

King Tutankhamun the young Egyptian pharaoh ruled 3300 years ago and died at the age of 19. Modern forensic technologies suggest he suffered from malaria a fractured lower leg and congenital deformities. While theories range from chariot crashes to genetic conditions the exact cause remains a topic of debate among historians and researchers.

King Tutankhamun often simply referred to as King Tut has been a subject of intrigue and speculation for nearly a century. Ever since British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1923 questions about the young pharaoh’s life and more importantly his death have captured the imagination of historians researchers and the general public alike. How Did King Tut Die?

Quick Facts About How Did King Tut Die

Age at Death19 years
Reign1332-1323 BC
Possible Causes of DeathMalaria, Injuries, Genetic Disorders
Controversial TheoryChariot Crash
Genetic DisordersPossible Marfan’s Syndrome
InbreedingCommon among Egyptian royalty
Tomb Discovery1923 by Howard Carter
LegacyOne of the most recognized pharaohs

How did King Tut die?

The exact circumstances surrounding King Tut’s death remain one of ancient history’s most tantalizing mysteries. He was a mere teenager dying at the age of 19 which in itself is unusual for a pharaoh. Modern forensic and medical technologies including DNA tests and CT scans have provided some clues. These tests indicate that King Tut suffered from malaria had a fractured lower leg and had congenital deformities possibly due to the prevalent inbreeding among Egyptian royalty. But do these factors tell the whole story?

The Historical Context: King Tut’s Reign

King Tutankhamun ruled Egypt during a tumultuous period. He ascended to the throne as a child and his reign though brief was marked by significant political and religious upheavals. His predecessor and possibly his father Akhenaten had introduced monotheism to Egypt a radical departure from its polytheistic traditions. King Tut spent much of his reign restoring the old gods and their temples effectively erasing the changes brought about by Akhenaten.

Modern Forensic Insights

With the advent of modern technology researchers have been able to delve deeper into the mystery of King Tut’s death. DNA tests have provided insights into his lineage and potential genetic disorders. CT scans have revealed physical ailments and injuries that the young pharaoh might have suffered. For instance, the scans showed a cleft palate a curved spine, and a fusion of the upper vertebrae conditions that are associated with Marfan’s syndrome. However, DNA tests in 2010 ruled out this diagnosis.

The Chariot Crash Theory

One of the most popular theories about King Tut’s death is that he died in a chariot crash. This theory gained traction in 2014 when a BBC documentary suggested that the injuries found on King Tut’s mummy including a fractured leg and pelvis could have resulted from such a crash. The theory posits that King Tut who had a deformed left foot might have fallen from his chariot and sustained fatal injuries. However, there’s no historical record of such an incident and some experts remain skeptical.

Marfan’s Syndrome

Another theory that has been proposed is that King Tut suffered from Marfan’s syndrome a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. Symptoms of this condition include a long head curved spine and fusion of the upper vertebrae all of which were observed in King Tut’s CT scans. However, as mentioned earlier DNA tests have so far disproved this theory.

The Post-Mortem Factor

One significant challenge in determining the cause of King Tut’s death is the condition of his mummy. After its discovery in 1923, the mummy underwent various examinations and interventions which might have caused some of the observed injuries. For instance, the removal of jewelry and artifacts from the mummy could have resulted in fractures and other damages.

King Tut’s Erased History

Not only is King Tut’s death shrouded in mystery but significant portions of his life and reign have also been deliberately erased from historical records. Following his death subsequent rulers tried to erase the memory of King Tut and his family possibly due to the controversial religious changes introduced by his predecessor.

The Role of Inbreeding in King Tut’s Health

Inbreeding was common among Egyptian royalty and King Tut was no exception. This could have led to congenital deformities and other health issues. Some researchers believe that these genetic factors combined with external injuries or infections might have contributed to his early death.

The Malaria Theory

Another theory that has gained traction in recent years is that King Tut died of malaria. DNA tests have revealed traces of the disease in his system. Malaria combined with other health issues and injuries could have been fatal for the young pharaoh.

The Skeletal Damage Debate

While some injuries on King Tut’s mummy like the fractured leg are believed to have occurred shortly before his death others might have been post-mortem. The debate continues about which injuries were sustained during his life and which occurred after his death possibly during the mummification process or later examinations.

King Tut’s Legacy in Modern Culture

Despite the mysteries surrounding his life and death, King Tut’s legacy lives on. His tomb with its treasure trove of artifacts provides a unique window into ancient Egyptian civilization. His golden mask in particular has become an iconic representation of ancient Egypt.

The Continuing Research

The debate about King Tut’s death is far from over. As technology advances researchers hope to uncover more clues about his life and demise. Some experts believe that a more detailed examination of King Tut’s mummy might provide the answers we seek.


How Did King Tut Die? The mystery of King Tut’s death continues to captivate us. Whether he died of genetic disorders a chariot crash malaria or a combination of factors the young pharaoh’s demise remains one of history’s most intriguing puzzles. As research continues we can only hope to get closer to the truth.


How old was King Tut when he died?

He was 19 years old.

What are the main theories about King Tut’s death?

The main theories include death from malaria injuries from a chariot crash and genetic disorders due to inbreeding.

Was King Tut murdered?

Most experts believe he was not murdered though there are some theories suggesting foul play.

Why is King Tut so famous?

King Tut is famous mainly because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1923 which provided valuable insights into ancient Egypt.

Did King Tut have any children?

There’s evidence to suggest that King Tut might have had two daughters but they likely died young.