One of the very interesting things about Kit is that he actually influenced William Shakespeare, and there are theories and controversies discussing whether or not some of Shakespeare's works were actually written by Kit himself! Born in 1564, he was the same age as Shakespeare, and attended The King's School in Canterbury and then Corpus Christi College at Cambridge - although the school was hesitant to award him his Bachelor or Arts degree after hearing a rumor that Marlowe had converted to Catholicism. However, he was given his degree after the Privy Council interfered and told the college of Marlowe's great service to the Queen. The exact nature of this "service" is a bit unclear, but it is possible that he helped serve as a spy for Sir Francis Walsingham's intelligence service. Although there is no solid evidence of this, certain letters make it seem like this is possible.
"The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing,
For thy delight each May morning.
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and by my love."
The main rumor is that he worked for Sir Francis Walsingham's spy network as a secret agent for the good of both his country and Queen Elizabeth I. Although it is uncertain, there is evidence that Kit took great lengthy absences from Cambridge during his studies (much longer than was normal or usually condoned), and that during his attendance he began spending lavishly on food and drink - again, much more than he would have been able to afford as an ordinary student on his income. He was also arrested in 1592 for his alleged involvement in the counterfeiting of coins in the Netherlands - which may have been related to his spy efforts, since he was reportedly communicating with followers of a Catholic plotter and reporting back to Burghley. No imprisonment resulted from this arrest - which may have also been because of Burghley's interference, and only reinforces the idea that Marlowe was working for him.
The rumor of homosexuality is another popular one surrounding Marlowe, although some historians are of the opinion that this was a rumor that spread largely after Marlowe's death and holds no real credibility. However, there is some evidence of this in his life. For example, Richard Baines reported Marlowe as saying at one point, "All that love not tobacco and boys are fools." During his life, there was speculation that he was romantically involved with one of Walsingham's relatives, a younger writer and patron of the arts named Thomas. There were also rumors that he may have been involved with Shakespeare, although no evidence of this exists. There also seems to be evidence in Marlowe's writing - certain plays include man's desires for other men, and he even writes about embraces, kisses, and touching between male characters. Since this was unconventional writing at the time, many people see it as Marlowe's way of showing his own feelings.
Unfortunately, Marlowe's tragic death is just as mysterious as his life. A popular theory is that Marlowe was dining with a friend named Ingram Frizer at a tavern in Deptford in 1593. After quarreling over the bill, it is believed that Marlowe may have grabbed Frizer's dagger, but that Frizer ended up with the dagger and stabbed Kit in the eye, killing him.
However, there is very much speculation about Marlowe's death - One theory even suggests that his death was faked by Walsingham's orders, in an effort to call the Privy Council off of Kit's pursuit. Although this belief is typically dismissed, there are many more controversies and theories about Kit. Overall, it seems the most popular and accepted belief is that Kit was brutally murdered - albeit mysteriously at Deptford on 30 May 1593.