Two years after "The Raven" was published, Virginia Clemm Poe died from tuberculosis. Her death sent Poe into a deeply depressed state that would inspire some of his darkest writings.
About two years after Virginia's death, on Oct. 7, 1849, Poe died at the age of 40. He was found on the streets of Baltimore in a distressed state and later taken to the hospital by a man named Joseph W. Walker. He died at Washington College Hospital at 5 a.m.
Poe was said to have repeated the name "Reynolds" on the night before his death. His last words were recorded as "Lord help my poor soul."
His cause of death is unknown, though some have speculated he died of alcoholism, suicide, tuberculosis, rabies, drug usage or heart disease. All his medical records have been lost. A mysterious death for a mysterious man seems more than appropriate.
Poe's work has influenced literature around the world and over the years. It appears throughout pop culture, literature, music, film and television.
His writings bring to mind images of murder, premature burials and madmen. This is not much different than the images brought to mind of the man himself -- a bizarre, morbid and mysterious man.
January 19 will be Edgar Allan Poe's 204th birthday. On this day, remember Poe for who he was, for he was great.