How Did King Tut Die?

Sep 29, 2012 By Arati Rao

King Tut, the Egyptian boy king who captured the imagination of the world when his tomb was discovered intact in 1922, is back making news again. Why? Because no one has been able to figure out with certainty how he died. 

Dr. Hutan Ashrafian, of the Imperial College London has put forth a new theory based on art and depictions of the pharaoh-ancestors of King Tut. The sculptures of King Tut, Akhenaton (King Tut’s father), and  pharaohs that came before him – Amenhotep III and Tuthmosis IV – all seem to have very feminine figures. This could mean, Ashrafian says, that they could all be suffering from a genetic disorder called gynecomastia.

Also, going back to records of the time, all of these pharaohs died young – each one died at a slightly younger age than the other. This again could point to a genetic disorder. Moreover, two of the five pharaohs had “religious visions” – which could point to a disorder in the brain. Epilepsy is a disease of the temporal lobe of the brain, which causes seizures and hallucinations after exposure to sunlight. Apparently people with such a disorder experience the same kind of “religious fervor.” Could these pharaohs all have had temporal lobe epilepsy?

What's the connection? 

King Tut's burial mask, Egyptian Museum. Photo: Wiki Commons

Apparently, what makes this theory plausible is that the temporal lobe is also connected to hormones and epilepsy can throw hormonal balances off. King Tut was known to have walked with a cane, and had a deformed left foot. Could this have been due to a fall from an epileptic seizure?

But we don’t know for sure. Some archaeologists believe that the sculptures and paintings that show the feminine bodies are actually religious and political in nature. Akhenaton, spurred by his religious vision, had proposed that Egypt move to worshipping only the sun. This was a huge departure from the polytheistic (many-god) society to a monotheistic (one-god) society. Akhentaon was considered “god,” and poems said of him “You are man and woman.” Could this be the reason that pharaohs of the time were shown with feminine bodies?

Now, if epilepsy had a genetic marker or a test to prove it, it would be so easy. But it does not. And for now, King Tut and his ancestors, keep the mystery of their lives and deaths to themselves.

A short video on the discovery of King Tut's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922:

Lizzy1   20 weeks ago

I'm Egyptian to, my mom has been inside the great pyramids.

Lizzy1   20 weeks ago

Why is it Children Only. Very helpful for my school project. Although the text had very little I didn't know I thoroughly enjoyed the video. Might I add I'm egyptain and my mom has been inside the Great Pyramaids.

4Bs   33 weeks ago

I have never heard this theory, it is interesting. The video was a little boring, but still great!

Jack12345678910   1 year ago

they are so close to finding out if it was either a leg injury or battle wounds

Lauren T   2 years ago

That's a lot of thins to inference from somebody's tomb and other peoples.

Tatsu   2 years ago

What Happen to King Tut's wife? Mystery

samana16   2 years ago

Egypt is so cool!

Tool killer 156 (not verified)   2 years ago

King tut is so cool

Tool killer 156 (not verified)   2 years ago

It was cool and sad at the same time sucks for howard carter though

StephanieJ152   2 years ago


kimberlym (not verified)   2 years ago

I read a book that king tut was discovrtd in 1923.

marilynns (not verified)   2 years ago


vjst (not verified)   2 years ago

I read somewhere else that he died of malaria and sickle cell disease

the voice of the characters in the video is not clear

Mikey177 (not verified)   3 years ago

King tut did not die from a hole in his skull. Scientists say (and me) that that happened AFTER he died

In my opinion, I think king tut died because a broken leg. When they showed an X-ray on another video, the kneecap was barely connected to the leg.

Chris 1999 (not verified)   2 years ago

He was most likely killed from a broken leg in a fight he was very competitive and a good warrior thats the reason why scientists say that.

eden.maree   3 years ago

i read on another website that he died from gangrene in his leg This is for an ancient world assignment at school

NotReallyMyFirstName (not verified)   2 years ago

Thats just what my teacher told us today any answers and evidence of how king tut died just post it

cecilia4361 (not verified)   3 years ago

I have a book about king tutankhamen (tut) and it said this. X-rays showed a mark on the skull people think it was a blow to the head.

aniyah (not verified)   3 years ago

Cool. My name is aniyah nice to meet you

boooooo (not verified)   3 years ago

i have a book on dead people that haunt you

lucyheart1617 (not verified)   3 years ago

i <3 ancient Egyptians its so fun and exicting learning it in skl !!!!!!!!!!

christina irlas (not verified)   3 years ago

yeah but in anciant egypt only famous poeple get their own pyramid and king tut and queen huptia are famous

Chris 1999 (not verified)   2 years ago

he didn't get a huge pyramid because he didnt live long enough to build one he died at age 19 and was king since age 9

Rissy123456789 (not verified)   3 years ago

Thank you for posting that i needed it for a report and that helped me alot

CoolDude77 (not verified)   3 years ago

My school project is egypt and I also nohow he died he died from a broken leg and smashed skull

london berry (not verified)   3 years ago

I still don't know how he died!!!! I read a book that said they got king tut out of his tomb and they discovered a huge hole in the back of his head!!!

tlover barnett (not verified)   3 years ago

this is relly boring but sad and also cool he died at age 18 and he was a king they should have protected him.

darshani (not verified)   3 years ago

why did he die

stumay (not verified)   3 years ago

the video is so boring

jamin (not verified)   3 years ago

i think they should hurry up and find out.

ANZELIA ANNA (not verified)   3 years ago

It is good info bit the video is a bit boring

Sweetie pie 13 (not verified)   3 years ago

Im reading and it said king tut was suppose to have died from a dog a snake or a crocodile

bri (not verified)   3 years ago

ohh wow i though he had died earlier

SJM (not verified)   3 years ago

I thought king tut was murdered for sure!

yasmeen   3 years ago


Andy ross (not verified)   3 years ago

ya its sad i have been researching on him and found that he was not dead till 1912 really wierd hey

yasie (not verified)   3 years ago

i have a great great great great grandfather that died trying to open the secrets

bobster (not verified)   3 years ago

it was cool but too bad king tut did't survive long :)

roger (not verified)   3 years ago


jaxons   3 years ago


daltonw2   3 years ago

I agree whith you.

cupcakequeen   3 years ago

that's interesting! that is weird too.

leish (not verified)   3 years ago

it really is fascinating

morganparsons   3 years ago

thats cool and too bad he could not have lived to see the rest of the discovery

helhel99   3 years ago


champ   3 years ago

boooooo thats bad

oliviaanthoniah   3 years ago

weird but cool and interesting

rianasanjeevan   3 years ago

To bad Carter did not live to see it.

JENNAH H_C   3 years ago

King tut is an AWESOME name

aforce8   3 years ago

I agree

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