Researchers in Italy said the DNA found on a set of bones at a Tuscany gravesite matches that of the artist's family, the Merisis.
"The bones of one of the individuals found in the crypt of the cemetery church in Porto Ercole belong to Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, with an 85 percent probability," they said in a statement.
There's no way to confirm that the remains are Caravaggio's because the DNA had degraded over time. But researchers say they're pretty sure.
Italian anthropologist Giorgio Gruppioni said the remains had "all the elements necessary for it to be Caravaggio's -- age, period in which he died, gender, height," he told The Associated Press.
Caravaggio was famous not only for the dramatic use of light and dark in his paintings but also for an eventful life that included heavy drinking, prostitutes and violence. In 1606 he killed a man during a fight and was forced to flee Rome.
Less is known, however, about how Caravaggio died. Some historians believe he may have been murdered, but the researchers who found the bones say he probably died of sunstroke after contracting syphilis and becoming weakened.
Scientists said an analysis of the bones seemed to match what is known about Caravaggio. They are the remains of someone who died around 1610, between 38 and 40 years of age, the AP reported. And they contained high amounts of lead, which was widely used in paintings during the artist's time.
Silvano Vinceti, head of Italy's National Committee for Cultural Heritage, said he was convinced the bones were those of the painter.
"Well, all these elements, put together with others, allow us to say with certainty, speaking as an historian, that these remains belong to Caravaggio," he told Reuters.