Napoleon was still fairly young when he died: only 52. However, he had lived a very stressful life, worked extremely hard, slept little, and was in a bad state of health by the time of his exile, in more ways than one. Furthermore, the sheer boredom of his monotonous life on Saint Helena probably accelerated his death. Other things also pressed on him: Marie Louise, who had refused to visit him at Elba, now refused even to write him, and he learned that she was having an affair with her guard, an Austrian officer. Furthermore, the man who kept an eye on Napoleon, Sir Hudson Lowe, was said to be overly harsh. Lowe sent away Las Cases, one of Napoleon's only friends on the islands, because he suspected that the two were plotting something. After Las Cases' exile, Napoleon sunk into further depression. Although he had numerous ailments by 1821, it seems likely that Napoleon's actual cause of death was stomach cancer. (Indeed, Napoleon's stomach may have been bothering him for years; some speculate that persistent stomach pains may have been at the root of his habit of placing a hand between his vest or shirt buttons, a gesture made famous in many portraits.) Yet the defeated conqueror, who had once had nearly all of Europe in his hands, now suffering a tedious and pathetic exile, had also lost his will to live.

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