CLAIMS that William Shakespeare may have died from cancer have been rubbished by the chairman of Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust.
A German literary expert has argued the Bard suffered from a tumour over his left eye in the years leading to his death in April 1616.
Professor Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel, from the University of Mainz, made the claim in a book after noticing four images of the Stratford-born writer showing a growth which increases in size in later pictures.
She asked forensic scientists from Germany's Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation to look at works of art depicting Shakespeare.
But Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford, hit out at the scientist's claims. He said: "I think it is all a lot of nonsense. This woman has been seeking publicity for some time.
"The idea that you can diagnose somebody's mortal illness on what could be a speck of paint is ridiculous."
He added that two of the pieces of art from which the professor made her claim were produced hundreds of years after Shakespeare died.
No cause of the Bard's death has been recorded. Theories include typhoid, syphilis, a heavy drinking session - or even that he may have been murdered by his son-inlaw, John Hall.
Well, did they?
He's been taking cues from Bubba.
In 1616, Shakespeare actually died peacefully in his sleep, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car. :)