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Chilean poet Neruda 'didn't die of cancer'

21 Octobre 2017

Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda didn't die of cancer, as officials in Chile had said, an worldwide team of scientists says.

The panel of experts focused on identifying pathogenic bacteria that might have caused the death of the poet.

Dr Aurelio Luna told a press conference the experts were "100% convinced" that the death certificate "does not reflect the reality of the death". The official version was that he died of cancer but some have speculated that he was poisoned.

Neruda, a celebrated poet, politician, diplomat and bohemian, died in 1973 aged 69, just days after Pinochet, then the head of the Chilean army, overthrew Socialist president Salvador Allende in a bloody coup. "We still can't exclude nor affirm the natural or violent cause of Pablo Neruda's death".

Neruda's body was exhumed in 2013 and reburied a year ago. His family and driver demanded further investigation.

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Still, Chile's government said in 2015 that it's "highly probable that a third party" was responsible for his death. Neruda was reburied in his favorite home overlooking the Pacific Coast previous year.

Neruda was best known for his love poems. But he was also a friend of socialist President Salvador Allende, who killed himself rather than surrender to troops during the September 11, 1973, right-wing coup led by Pinochet.

He was traumatized by the military takeover and the persecution and killing of his friends. He planned to go into exile, where he would have been an influential voice against the dictatorship.

He died in a Santiago clinic where he was being treated for prostate cancer.

New tests on Neruda's remains have now confirmed he did not die of cancer, but have yet to reveal the actual cause. But suspicions that the dictatorship had a hand in the death remained long after Chile returned to democracy in 1990.

Chilean poet Neruda 'didn't die of cancer'