Neruda foundation supports exhumation for autopsy

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Pablo Neruda in a photo taken on Oct. 21, 1971, talking with reporters in Paris after being named the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature. AP file photo

SANTIAGO, Chile— The body of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda will be exhumed for an autopsy seeking clues to what killed him.

Neruda died days after the 1973 military coup that ended the life of his close friend, socialist President Salvador Allende. With Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s forces killing prominent leftists, friends had a plane waiting to carry Neruda into exile.

Neruda was hospitalized with cancer at the time, but friends have told The Associated Press that the official cause of extreme malnutrition makes no sense because Neruda weighed 220 pounds (100 kilograms).

Forensic scientists have said it would be very difficult to determine from his remains whether drugs were given in doses big enough to kill him.

Still, the Pablo Neruda Foundation announced Friday that it supports Judge Mario Carroza’s investigation.

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