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He simply lost the will to live. There is no medical reason given, and he was, as an able bodied male, a bit too young to die of old age complications. It's possible he did have an undiagnosed medical condition, but the story does not touch on that. The state of Medicine was far less advanced at the time. To explain the Average Life Expectancy at the time ...


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Actually, this is a point of discontinuity with the novel, wherein Valjean's promise to Fantine was simply to bring Cosette back to live with her and provide means for their support (not to care for her himself), as he expected Fantine to recover from her illness. Thus, he asks Javert for three days simply to get said affairs in order, which Javert denies ...



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