The mysterious death of Robert Johnson in 1938

Dr. David Connell also shared his findings in an open letter to musician Eric Clapton. In the letter, which was made available by the National Library of Medicine, Connell cited photographs of Robert Johnson — in which his fingers appear to be unusually long. He also noted that Johnson had an “evil eye”, which had recurring cataracts. Connell believes these features suggest Johnson had Marfan syndrome.

According to Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention, Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissues of the body and can also damage the eyes, heart and lungs. One of the most dangerous complications of Marfan syndrome is enlargement of the aorta, which can cause life-threatening aortic aneurysm or fatal aortic dissection.

In his open letter to Clapton, Connell said he witnessed a young woman die from an aortic dissection associated with Marfan syndrome. In her words, she died “on her hands and knees howling like a dog”, which eerily resembled some of the rumors of Johnson’s own death.

Although some of the possible explanations for Johnson’s death relate to pre-existing medical conditions, the most popular theories suggest that he was murdered by poisoning. As reported by Mother Jones, Johnson’s friend, musician David “Honeyboy” Edwards, claims to have witnessed Johnson’s poisoning. According to Edwards, Johnson was romantically involved with a woman who already had a boyfriend. Edwards claims the woman’s boyfriend was responsible for Johnson’s death.

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