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Last Updated: Friday, 19 March, 2004, 16:47 GMT
Pantani death 'accidental'
Marco Pantani
Pantani was a troubled, but brilliant cyclist
Italian cyclist Marco Pantani died of accidental cocaine poisoning, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

The agency quoted coroner Giuseppe Fortuni as concluding: "The death of Marco Pantani was caused by acute cocaine intoxication."

Fortuni ruled out the possibility that the 34-year-old had committed suicide.

Pantani, who won the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in 1998, was found dead in a hotel room in the Italian resort of Rimini on 14 February.

An autopsy showed that Pantani died of swelling in the brain and lungs caused by accumulation of fluid.

Prosecutor Paolo Gengarelli ordered more tests to determine what caused the fluid to build up.

Pantani had been tormented by doping accusations and had been hospitalised in the summer of 2003 in an Italian clinic specialising in treatment of depression and drug addiction.




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