'Piano Man' revealed as German

Mystery man discharged and has flown home

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The mysterious "Piano Man" at a British hospital who did not speak to doctors and nurses for four months has been discharged and is back in his home country of Germany.

A spokesman for the West Kent National Health Service and Social Care Trust in southeast England said his condition had shown a "marked improvement" and he no longer needed medical treatment.

The German foreign ministry confirmed that he is a German who flew home Saturday.

"Piano Man" is a 20-year-old from Bavaria, government officials told The Associated Press.

British health officials refused to comment on a report in the Daily Mirror tabloid Monday that the man -- who remained silent after being found distressed and soaking wet on a beach in southern England on April 7 -- had finally spoke to staff last week.

The paper added to the mystery by saying "Piano Man" was something of a misnomer.

The Mirror said that his he had misled doctors about an "imaginary illness" and said that far from being a concert trained pianist, he could hardly play a note.

The newspaper said he had previously worked with mentally ill patients and had copied some of their characteristics.

A source described as "an insider" at the Little Brook hospital in Dartford, Kent, told the paper: "He said he drew a picture of a piano because that was the first thing which came into his head.

"When he played the piano in the hospital he didn't play it that well, contrary to all the reports, but just kept tapping one key continuously.

"He admitted that he couldn't play the piano that well at all."

But health trust officials declined to comment on the report.

"The rules regarding patient confidentiality mean that the trust is unable to make any further comment on this story," the spokesman said.

"The trust would like to express its thanks to the many agencies that worked on this case; including the National Missing Persons' Helpline, the police and the local health economy."

Social workers and staff from the National Missing Persons Helpline spent months trying to identify the man.

The Daily Mirror's source said that a nurse had gone into his room last Friday and said "Are you going to speak to us today?" He was said to have answered "Yes, I think I will."

"We were stunned. He has been with us for months and we have got nowhere with him. We thought he was going to be with us forever," the paper quoted the source as saying.

There had been months of speculation ads to the identity of the mystery man. In May he was said to have been identified as a Czech musician called Tomas Strnad. But Strnad appeared on Czech TV to say it was not him.

Media reports in Britain earlier this year said the man had given "a four-hour virtuoso piano performance" after he was found wandering near a beach on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, southern England.

He was wearing a waterlogged dinner suit and tie, from which all the labels had been cut out.

Staff at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham gave the tall, blonde man a pen and paper in the hope he would write his name or draw his country's flag.

Instead, he drew highly detailed pictures of a grand piano.

The case drew comparisons with the Oscar-winning 1996 film Shine, which told the moving story of acclaimed pianist David Helfgott who suffered a nervous breakdown while playing.

Agencias: Associated Press
Medio: CNN.com
Fecha: Lunes 22 de agosto de 2005
Notas: Copyright 2005 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report. Story Tools
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