Tests show Chile’s poet Neruda suffered cancer

SANTIAGO — An early forensic test shows Chilean poet Pablo Neruda suffered from advanced prostate cancer when he died, but his actual cause of death has not been determined.

Neruda was exhumed last month to investigate allegations he was poisoned by Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.

Dr. Patricio Bustos heads Chile’s Medical Legal Service. He says that X-rays and a CT scan show the cancer had metastasized and spread to his hip and sacra, the triangular bone at the base of his spine.

Bustos says it’s just the first of many tests.

Neruda died in 1973 just days after Pinochet ousted the poet’s friend, President Salvador Allende, in a bloody coup.

The official version for years has been that Neruda died from natural causes. But Bustos says the recent test is not conclusive.

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