Tutankhamun died at just 18 years of age, which raises several questions, the most significant of which is "Why did he die so young?"

A group of scientists investigated Tutankhamun's death, attempting to determine whether it was due to murder by a backstabbing political climber or due to natural causes. They concluded that it was a combination of both.

Tutankhamun was a sickly young man, being afflicted by both scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and Klippel-Feils Syndrome (fusing of the cervical vertebrae, causing the victim to be unable to move their head independently of their body). The two fetuses of his children, conceived with his wife and half-sister Ankhesenamun, also show signs of these diseases. In Tutankhamun's tomb, 131 walking sticks and canes were found. These were not ceremonial canes, but rather well-worn canes used since childhood. One artwork even shows Tutankhamun leaning heavily on a crutch.

Further x-rays of Tutankhamun's head show a blood clot at the back of the head and tiny fractures in the front of the skull. It was suggested that a blow to the base of the skull could have caused this results and that such a blow would "not have been compatible with life." But who would have reason to assassinate Tutankhamun? His wife, Ankhesenamun, was soon dismissed, as numerous artworks depict her being affectionate and loving towards Tutankhamun. The depictions of their love were unprecedented in Egyptian art. Therefore, the list was narrowed to three suspects:

Because, for various reasons, Maya and Horemheb would have little to gain from Tutankhamun's death, it was suggested that Ay, his successor, engineered Tutankhamun's death. The young king, fond of driving chariots, may have died from a head wound delivered from falling off a moving chariot sabotaged by Ay. Tutankhamun, unable to move his neck or effectively break his fall, would have suffered serious injury to his brain and spinal cord.

Following Tutankhamun's death, shoddy mummification and hasty burial, Ay married Ankhesenamun (undoubtedly against her will, since Hittite archives record that Akhesenamun wrote to the Hittite king Suppiliumas, begging for one of his sons to marry and make pharaoh). This secured Ay's "right" to the throne, though his reign would be short-lived.