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Police say Woolmer died of heart failure
Horace Helps

Kingston: Pakistan's World Cup coach, Bob Woolmer, almost certainly died of heart failure, Jamaica police said on Wednesday, a day after ending a high-profile murder investigation into his death.

Police based their conclusion on the cause of Woolmer's death on the evidence of three independent pathologists from Britain, Canada and South Africa who reviewed an initial post-mortem and said Woolmer was not, in fact, murdered.

They also took into account a toxicologist's report which said there were no poisons in Woolmer's body.

Full Coverage: Woolmer's death

"Determining the cause of death is the remit of the coroner but we are 99 percent sure that Woolmer died of heart failure," said police spokesman Karl Angell.

He did not elaborate, but the Jamaica Observer newspaper quoted Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas as saying Woolmer had "an enlarged heart which was brought on by a number of illnesses."

Previous media reports have referred to his ill health and speculated that he suffered from diabetes.

Woolmer's death in Kingston on March 18, one day after Pakistan lost to little-fancied Ireland in the cricket World Cup, cast a shadow over the sport that deepened when police announced it was launching a murder investigation.

That probe was based upon a post-mortem report by pathologist Ere Seshaiah, which said the 58-year-old former England international cricketer had been strangled.

In an embarrassing U-turn, police reversed course on Tuesday and said Woolmer died of natural causes in direct contradiction to Seshaiah's findings.

Seshaiah insisted he was right despite the verdict reached by police in the Caribbean island nation. "I am sticking to my findings. He was murdered," he told the Observer in an interview published on Wednesday.

The Gleaner newspaper published excerpts from the three reports by the independent coroners used by police.

"After viewing the photographs and video and discussing the circumstances, I gave my opinion that Mr. Woolmer's death was not due to throttling, but in fact natural causes, probably cardiac related," Lorna Martin, head of forensic medicine and toxicology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, was quoted as saying.

Kingston's coroner has declined to say when an announcement on the official cause of death will be made.

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