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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cycling News Flash for March 20, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cocaine overdose the cause of Pantani's death

Marco Pantani died of a cocaine overdose, Italian newsagency ANSA reported on Friday afternoon. An investigation into the mysterious death of the immensely popular Italian climber, who was found dead in a hotel room in Rimini on February 14, revealed that his death from cerebral and pulmonary edema ((accumulation of liquid) was caused by cocaine poisoning. The investigators also concluded that Pantani did not commit suicide.

"The death of Marco Pantani was caused by acute cocaine intoxication," read Dr. Giuseppe Fortuni's report. "Acute cocaine intoxication provoked a pulmonary and cerebral edema which were the cause of death. There are no concrete elements to support the hypothesis of suicide."

A search of Pantani's hotel room at the time revealed traces of cocaine, as well as several used packets of anti-depressants. It was known among his family and friends that he had a cocaine habit, and police are now looking for suspects who could have supplied Pantani with the drug before his death.

A full report on the death of Marco Pantani is expected to be made within two weeks.

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