Chile's President Allende "killed himself"


General Augusto Pinochet (L) poses with Chilean president Salvador Allende 23 August 1973 in Santiago, shortly after Allende appointed him the head of the army, just three weeks before Pinochet coup that killed Allende. A year later, in 1974, Pinochet signed a decree naming himself Chilean president.



Chile’s former President Salvador Allende killed himself, a team of international experts has concluded after an exhumation of his body.

Allende died in 1973 as General Augusto Pinochet’s troops were closing in on the presidential palace during a coup.

Chile's Legal Medical Service confirmed Tuesday that the cause of Allende's death was suicide, CNN reports.

While officially the leftist leader’s death had been ruled a suicide — the story was that Allende committed suicide with a gun given to him by Fidel Castro — some of his supporters had long doubted the tale, and instead believed that he had been shot by soldiers, according to the BBC.

A judge had ordered exhumation of Allende’s body from the family's crypt at a Santiago cemetery as part of a human rights investigation. The former president’s body was exhumed in May.

(More from GlobalPost: Former President Salvador Allende to be exhumed in Chile)

"The analysis confirmed the cause of death established earlier, the manner of death (suicide) and the circumstances in which events happened in the context of the bombing of the La Moneda (presidential) Palace," the medical service said in a statement, according to CNN.

"We want to say, in clear and simple terms, that we have a great peace because this report concludes something that we had conviction in," Allende's daughter, Chilean Senator Isabel Allende Bussi, wrote on her website.

"And the conclusion that the Allende family has is this: That President Allende, on September 11, 1973, under the extreme circumstances that he lived, made the decision to end his life rather than be humiliated or to live any other situation."