What killed Lenin? Stress didn't help, poison eyed

By ALEX DOMINGUEZ | May 4, 2012 | 12:07 AM EDT

BALTIMORE (AP) — A doctor says stress, family medical history or possibly even poison led to the death of Vladimir Lenin, debunking a popular theory that a sexually-transmitted disease debilitated the former Soviet Union leader.

UCLA neurologist Dr. Harry Vinters has reviewed Lenin's records for an annual University of Maryland School of Medicine conference that opens Friday on famous people's deaths.

The 53-year-old Soviet leader suffered several strokes before dying in 1924 and what caused them isn't clear. Lenin didn't smoke, have high blood pressure or other common risk factors.

At the time of Lenin's death, some Russians suspected syphilis caused the strokes. Russian historian Lev Lurie says fellow Soviet leader Josef Stalin may have finished him off.

The conference has re-examined the deaths of King Tut, Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln and others.