Oliver Cromwell's Fatal Ague

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Abstract

Although many people recognize Oliver Cromwell by name, few know more than the barest details of his life or his legacy, and fewer still of the “ague” that ended his brief reign as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and one of Britain's greatest generals. He died suddenly at age 59. Cromwell was the “terror of Europe” during that period. His physicians diagnosed his fatal disorder as “bastard tertian ague.” A contemporary analysis of his clinical record, including one with the aid of the U.S. Department of Energy's supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, suggests that he died of an infection, possibly 2 infections acting in concert.

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