Photo: Pablo Neruda
Chilean and foreign experts who examined the remains of poet Pablo Neruda ruled out the possibility that the winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature died of poisoning after Chile’s 1973 military coup, authorities said Friday.
In the autopsy performed after Neruda’s body was exhumed in April, “no relevant chemical substances were found that could be related to his death,” Chile’s chief medical examiner, Patricio Bustos, told reporters.
He said that toxicological analyses of the poet’s bones “showed the presence of pharmaceutical products for the treatment of cancerous illnesses, specifically prostate cancer, which were in use at the time.”
The poet, diplomat and political activist suffered from prostate cancer.
“No forensic evidence has been found that would allow a legal medical ruling of death by unnatural causes in the case of Sr. Pablo Neruda,” Bustos said.
Neruda died on Sept. 23, 1973, 12 days after Gen. Augusto Pinochet toppled Chile’s Socialist government in a bloody coup.
His death was officially blamed on cancer, but an investigation was opened in mid-2011 after a complaint was filed by Neruda’s Communist Party colleagues based on charges by former chauffeur Manuel Araya that the poet was murdered on Pinochet’s orders.