Forensic scientists exhumed the body of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda today (April 8) to investigate claims that the Nobel laureate was murdered 40 years ago, the Associated Press reports.

The official cause of Neruda's death, on September 23, 1973, was prostate cancer. But suspicion has swirled around the fact that he died just as he was planning to escape to Mexico, 12 days after a military coup overthrew his friend, socialist President Salvador Allende. A few years ago, the late poet's chauffer came forward with his story, insisting that Neruda was poisoned.

A forensic investigation of his remains could help determine whether or not Neruda should be added to the long list of people killed or "disappeared" under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 to 1990. According to the AP, officials with Chile's medical legal service said Neruda's body is in good condition and it is being taken from his place of burial at Isla Negra to Santiago for examination.

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