Death of Pablo Neruda

Establishing a permanent home on the Isla Negra, Neruda continued to travel extensively, visiting Cuba in 1960 and the United States in 1966.

After Salvador Allende was elected president, Neruda was appointed Chile's ambassador to France (1970-72). Neruda died of leukemia in Santiago on 23 September in 1973. His death was probably accelerated by the murder of Allende and tragedies caused by Pinochet coup. After Neruda's death his home in Valparaiso and Santiago were robbed. During his long literary career, Neruda produced more than forty volumes of poetry, translations, and verse drama. Neruda is recognized to be among the major poets of the 20th century.

In 1971, having sought the prize for years, Neruda was finally awarded the Nobel Prize. This decision did not come easily, as some of the committee members had not forgotten Neruda's past praise of Stalinist dictatorship. But his Swedish translator, Artur Lundkvist, did his best to ensure the Chilean the prize.

As the disturbances of 1973 unfolded, Neruda, then terminally ill with prostate cancer, was devastated by the mounting attacks on the Allende government. The military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet on September 11 saw Neruda's hopes for a Marxist Chile destroyed. Shortly thereafter, during a search of the house and grounds at Isla Negra by Chilean armed forces at which he was present, Neruda famously remarked:

Look around—there's only one thing of danger for you here—poetry.

Neruda died of heart failure on the evening of September 23, 1973, at Santiago's Santa María Clinic. The funeral took place amidst a massive police presence, and mourners took advantage of the occasion to protest against the new regime, established just a couple of weeks before.

In 1969 Neruda campaigned for the leftist candidate Salvador Allende, who appointed him ambassador to France after being elected president of Chile. While already ill with cancer in France, Neruda in 1971 learned that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. After traveling to Stockholm to receive his prize, he returned to Chile bedridden and terminally ill and survived by only a few days his friend Allende, who died in a right-wing military coup.