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No Foul Play In Poet Pablo Neruda's Death, Say Researchers

In this April 26, 2015 photo, a framed photo of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda hangs on a wall, as a tourist enters his favorite home in Isla Negra, Chile. In a statement released to The Associated Press Tuesday, May 19, 2015, Chile's Neruda Foundation said that more than two years after Neruda was exhumed to determine the cause of his death, it’s time for the poet to rest in peace in his home in the coastal town of Isla Negra. The foundation is demanding that the remains of Neruda be reburied immediately.Natacha Pisarenko / AP

Initial reports have found no conclusive evidence that acclaimed Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda was poisoned.

The Chilean government reopened an investigation into his death in January, using new tests designed to look for protein damage which could have been caused by chemical agents such as poison.

Neruda is known the world over for his famous love poems like "Poema 20;" he also held staunch communist views. He presumably died of cancer days after a 1973 coup that toppled socialist president Salvador Allende and ushered in the brutal, decades-long dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

After his death, Neruda's chauffeur claimed that Pinochet's agents, taking advantage of his cancer, injected poison into Neruda's stomach while he was in the hospital.

Forensic experts at the Universidad de Murcia in Spain found three types of protein in Neruda,'s remains, and two of these could be explained by advanced prostrate cancer, said the report seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The source of the third protein was not immediately clear, but could be due to natural causes such as infection.

An expert panel will now examine the evidence, while a further genomic analysis is still pending.

Neruda's family and supporters have been divided over whether the case should be closed and his remains returned to his grave near his coastal home of Isla Negra, or whether researchers should continue carrying out tests.

This file picture dated October 21, 1971, shows writer, poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda, then Chilean ambassador in France, answering journalists' questions at the embassy in Paris after being awarded the 1971 Nobel Literature Prize.STF / AFP - Getty Images


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--Reuters and NBC News