Brahe was long thought to have died from a bladder infection after politeness kept him from excusing himself to use the bathroom during a royal banquet in October 1601, causing his bladder to rupture. However, scientists who opened Brahe's grave in 1901 to mark the 300th anniversary of his death claimed to find mercury in his remains, fueling rumors that the astronomer was poisoned. Some even accused [his not-yet-famous assistant Johannes] Kepler of the crime.Also discovered: Brahe's fake nose was probably made of brass, not silver.
But the new results don't point to any such intrigue. While analyses of Brahe's teeth are not yet complete, tests on his bones and beard hairs show that mercury concentrations in his body were not high enough to have killed him....
Anyway, it was Kepler who gave the original the first-hand account of this story:
... Tycho had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette. After he had returned home he was no longer able to urinate, except eventually in very small quantities and with excruciating pain.... Before dying, he urged Kepler to finish the Rudolphine Tables and expressed the hope that he would do so by adopting Tycho's own planetary system, rather than that of Copernicus. It was reported that Brahe himself had written his own epitaph, stating "He lived like a sage and died like a fool."I arrived at this story today because I was worried about people who might think too much about Rand Paul and take Gabriel Gomez's boast too seriously.