The remains of poet Pablo Neruda will be exhumed next month by order of the judge investigating whether the Chilean Nobel laureate was murdered, an attorney involved in the case told Efe on Monday.

Eduardo Contreras, who is representing the Communist Party in the case, said that it is expected that this week Judge Mario Carroza will set an exact date for the exhumation.

Neruda died on Sept. 23, 1973, 12 days after Gen. Augusto Pinochet toppled Chile's Socialist government in a bloody coup.

The poet and former diplomat had suffered from cancer for several years and his death was blamed on the disease.

The current investigation was opened in mid-2011 after a complaint was filed by Neruda's Communist Party colleagues after the poet's former driver, Manuel Araya, said he was murdered by lethal injection on Pinochet's orders.

Neruda passed away in the same Santiago clinic where former President Eduardo Frei Montalva died in 1982.

The former head of state's death was also attributed to natural causes, but a 2009 probe determined that he was poisoned.

Neruda is buried beside his third wife, Matilde Urrutia, in the yard of his house, now a museum, in Isla Negra, a town in Chile's central coastal region. 

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