Bringing statues to life: Ludwig van Beethoven
German composer and pianist. His father, Johann, falsely claimed Ludwig was six (he was seven) at his first public performance in order to promote his son as a child prodigy.
Beethoven suffered from tinnitus from an early age, and although his hearing diminished he never became totally deaf. His death at the age of 56 was most probably due to liver damage following excessive consumption of alcohol.