What caused Galileo's death?


Quick Answer

Galileo died in 1642 after suffering from heart palpitations and fever at the age of 77. Galileo is known for his theory that the Earth moves around the sun (known as heliocentricism), for his observations on heavenly bodies and for his work on the telescope.

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Full Answer

Ferdinando II, who was the Grand Duke of Tuscany, had plans to bury Galileo in the body of the Basilica of Santa Croce, where his father and ancestors also resided. He also wanted to construct a marble mausoleum to honor Galileo. Those plans were vanquished because Pope Urban VIII and his nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, objected on the grounds that the Catholic Church had denounced Galileo as a suspected heretic, due to his claims that the Earth revolved around the sun.

Galileo was originally buried under the Campanile, at the Novitate Chapel in Santa Croce, as he was not allowed to be buried in the church. In 1737, he was moved into the church and interred in a marble sarcophagus located directly across from Michelangelo's monument. Three fingers and a tooth were removed from Galileo's remains during this transportation. The fingers are some of the most famous items at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy. Galileo's tomb contains two other bodies: his pupil Viviani and his daughter, Suor Maria Celeste.

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