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Experts say Chilean poet Neruda did not die of cancer

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Elvis Gonzalez/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9139294a) The nephew of the poet Pablo Neruda and lawyer, Rodolfo Reyes (L), with lawyer Eduardo Contreras (C) and the president of the Chilean Communist Party, Guillermo Teillier (R) talk during meeting in Santiago, Chile 16 October 2017. A panel of experts from Chile, Spain, United States, Denmark, Canada and France meet to explore the possibility that Chilean poet-diplomat Pablo Neruda was poisoned by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet or died due to prostate cancer. Neruda won the Nobel prize for literature in 1971 and died in 1973. Experts explore possibility poet Pablo Neruda was poisoned by Pinochet government, Santiago, Chile - 16 Oct 2017
Elvis Gonzalez/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
The nephew of the poet Pablo Neruda and lawyer, Rodolfo Reyes (left), with lawyer Eduardo Contreras (center) and the president of the Chilean Communist Party, Guillermo Teillier (right) talked during a meeting in Santiago, Chile.

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — An international team of scientists says Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda did not die of cancer, as officials in Chile had said.

The panel of experts focused on identifying pathogenic bacteria that might have caused the death of the poet. They made their announcement Friday in the Chilean capital.

The leftist writer died in the chaos following Chile’s 1973 right-wing military coup. The official version was that he died of cancer but some have speculated that he was poisoned.

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Neruda’s body was exhumed in 2013 to determine the cause of his death but those tests showed no toxic agents in his bones.

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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 last year.