Jean-Baptiste Lully’s conducting led to his death.
On 8 January 1687, Lully was conducting a Te Deum in honor of Louis XIV’s recent recovery from illness. He was beating time by banging a long staff (a precursor to the bâton) against the floor, as was the common practice at the time, when he struck his toe, creating an abscess. The wound turned gangrenous, but Lully refused to have his toe amputated and the gangrene spread, resulting in his death on 22 March.
Dance scenes from Gérard Corbiau’s film Le Roi Danse (“The King is Dancing”) based on Phillippe Beaussant’s biography of composer Jean-Baptiste Lully.