Hundreds of children died due to eating the fruit on an empty stomach, research says. US and Indian scientists say a mystery illness that killed more than 100 children a year in northern India was caused by eating lychees on an empty stomach. For more than two decades, apparently healthy children in a region of Bihar suffered sudden seizures and lost consciousness. Almost half died, baffling doctors. New research, published in the medical journal The Lancet, now suggests they were poisoned by the fruit.