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Pablo Neruda ‘did not die of cancer’, say experts

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda at the BBC Latin American Service in 1965

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda did not die of prostate cancer, forensic experts have said.

The Nobel Laureate was said to have died of cancer in 1973, less than two weeks after a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

But his former driver Manuel Araya maintains he actually died after being poisoned by the secret service.

New tests on Neruda’s remains have now confirmed he did not die of cancer, but have yet to reveal the actual cause.

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 poet was suffering from prostate cancer, but it was not life-threatening – leading the experts to conclude a third party could have possibly been involved.

They will now carry out tests on a toxin found in his remains, which were exhumed on a judge’s orders in 2013.

Neruda was a supporter and personal friend of Chile’s deposed socialist President, Salvador Allende.

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