Milosevic died of heart failure
The preliminary results of an autopsy in the Netherlands on Slobodan Milosevic show the former Yugoslav leader died of a heart attack.
He was found dead in his cell on Saturday in The Hague where he was on trial for war crimes.
A toxicological report on the body has still to be completed amid allegations he may have died of poisoning.
An official for the UN tribunal said that his remains would be released to on Monday to his family.
The tribunal said that the full autopsy report might take more than another day to be released but that the preliminary results showed Mr Milosevic had died of a "myocardial infarction", the medical term for a heart attack.
Mr Milosevic, 64, had long suffered from heart problems.
Slobodan Milosevic feared he was being poisoned just a day before he died in his cell, according to lawyer Zdenko Tomanovic.
He had complained of "strong drugs in his system only used for treating leprosy or tuberculosis" in a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Mr Milosevic had, he said, been citing a medical report from 12 January.
Mr Milosevic had requested permission to travel to Moscow for medical treatment but the tribunal refused, fearing that he might not return to The Hague.
Dutch public television NOS reported on Sunday that a blood sample taken from Mr Milosevic some time between November and January had shown traces of drugs often used to treat leprosy or tuberculosis.
They may have neutralised the medicine Mr Milosevic was taking for high blood pressure and heart problems, it said, quoting an unidentified tribunal "adviser".
UN chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte has cautioned against "rumours" and pointed out that the toxicological report could take up to 24 hours to complete.
Tribunal ploughs on
Ms del Ponte said Mr Milosevic's death made it even more urgent for Serbia to arrest the most wanted Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.
Mr Milosevic had been held at the UN war crimes tribunal since 2001.
He was on trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged central role in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo during the 1990s.
He also faced genocide charges over the 1992-95 Bosnia war, in which 100,000 people died.
Correspondents say the tribunal's monitoring of inmates is under scrutiny because Mr Milosevic's death came within a week of the suicide of a former rebel Croatian Serb leader, Milan Babic.
Both Mr Milosevic's widow Mirjana Markovic and son Marko have blamed the tribunal for his death.
They are living in Moscow and both face fraud charges in Serbia so it is not yet clear whether Mr Milosevic's funeral will take place in his homeland.
His daughter Marija, now living in Montenegro, would also face criminal charges in Serbia.
Few Serbs lament the passing of Mr Milosevic and there is a debate about whether to accord him the honours befitting a former president, says the BBC's Matt Prodger in Belgrade.
Serbian state television led its bulletins on Sunday with the memorial service for the reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who was assassinated exactly three years ago. His government sent Mr Milosevic to The Hague.
Milosevic Took Drug That Made Him Worse
By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 44 minutes ago
A Dutch toxicologist said Monday that Slobodan Milosevic was taking antibiotics that diluted prescriptions for heart ailments and high blood pressure while he was pleading with a U.N. tribunal for permission to get treatment in Russia.
Donald Uges said he found traces of rifampicin, an antituberculosis drug, in Milosevic's system earlier this year after the former Yugoslav leader did not respond to blood pressure medication given at the U.N. detention center.
Rifampicin "makes the liver extremely active," possibly hindering the effectiveness of other medications.
"If you're taking something, it breaks down very quickly," said Uges, who was asked by the tribunal to conduct an independent review.
Milosevic, 64, was found dead in his jail cell Saturday morning of an apparent heart attack. Hours earlier, he wrote an accusatory letter alleging that a "heavy drug" had been found in his bloodstream during a medical exam.
His ailments caused numerous delays in his four-year trial for orchestrating a decade of conflict that killed 250,000 people and tore the Yugoslav federation asunder. No verdict will be issued.
Uges suggested Milosevic may have taken the unprescribed medicine in a bid to be released from jail and get medical attention in Russia — by portraying his Dutch doctors as unable to treat his condition.
"First he wasn't taking his medicine. Then he was forced to take it under supervision and his blood pressure still didn't come down. So his camp said: 'You see, these Dutch doctors don't know how to treat him and he should go to Russia,'" Uges said.
Milosevic's widow, Mirjana Markovic, and their son, Marko, live in Russia.
Rifampicin is used with other drugs to treat tuberculosis. It also can be used alone to treat certain bacterial infections or asymptomatic carriers of a type of meningitis.
According to the U.S. prescribing label, the drug affects enzymes in the body to speed metabolism of a host of other drugs, meaning higher doses of those other medications may be needed to compensate. It also can cause liver damage.
Doctors who examined Milosevic at the detention center diagnosed him as having hypertension, or high blood pressure, and hypertrophic heart disease, a thickening of the heart muscle.
U.N.-appointed doctors examined Milosevic in November and initially concluded he had been refusing to take his prescribed medicine, since the blood pressure was not responding.
Under orders of the judges, Milosevic was then required to take his medicine under supervision, but the "pressure still didn't come down," said Uges, a toxicologist from University Hospital of Groningen.
He said Dutch doctors concluded after a Jan. 12 examination that the most likely explanation was that Milosevic was taking another drug that counteracted his blood pressure medication.
Milosevic, who asked the court in December to be released to travel to Russia for treatment, contested the doctors' opinion, so the court asked Uges to conduct a more sophisticated test. That was done two weeks ago.
He said his investigation confirmed the earlier findings. Toxicological tests conducted during Sunday's autopsy would show whether the traces were still in Milosevic's blood when he died, Uges said.
Tribunal President Fausto Pocar said he ordered the autopsy and toxicological examination after a Dutch coroner was unable Saturday to establish the cause of death. Serbia sent a pathologist to observe the autopsy at the Netherlands Forensic Institute.
A legal aide to Milosevic, meanwhile, said Monday the late Serb leader would be buried in Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro — a funeral that could provoke tumultuous scenes in the capital he ruled for 13 years before being extradited to the war crimes tribunal for trial.
Tomanovic said Milosevic's family wanted a state funeral in Belgrade, apparently resolving an internal dispute over whether he should be buried in Serbia, Russia or Montenegro. The Dutch Embassy in Moscow on Monday granted a three-day visa to Milosevic's son so he can travel to The Hague to claim his father's remains, the Netherlands said.
It was unclear if Serb authorities would approve a Belgrade funeral. Serbian President Boris Tadic has said a state funeral would be "absolutely inappropriate," and he reiterated Monday he would not pardon Markovic.
"I have just submitted information to the government of Serbia that the funeral will be in Belgrade, that this is the wish of (the) Milosevic family," Tomanovic told reporters at the U.N. tribunal.
Milosevic's widow and son are wanted on international arrest warrants for abuse of power and could be taken into custody upon returning to Serbia.
Marko Milosevic said Monday from Moscow that his family could ask for the former Yugoslav leader to be interred temporarily in Moscow until a funeral could be held in Belgrade.
"It depends on whether they will secure my family's safety," he said.
The allegations in what amounted to Milosevic's deathbed letter put the tribunal and U.N. prosecutors on the defensive. The tribunal said Sunday a heart attack killed Milosevic, according to preliminary findings from a nearly eight-hour autopsy.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow does not fully trust Milosevic's autopsy and wants to send doctors to examine the body. Dutch visas were granted Monday to four Russian doctors.
Tadic told The Associated Press he believed the tribunal was responsible for Milosevic's death.
Before the preliminary autopsy results were released, chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said suicide could not be ruled out. Milosevic's parents committed suicide.
Tomanovic said the ex-president feared he was being poisoned. He showed reporters a six-page letter Milosevic wrote to Russian officials Friday — the day before his death — claiming a medication used to treat leprosy or tuberculosis was found in his blood during a January exam.
"They would like to poison me," Tomanovic quoted Milosevic as telling him.
Uges said he found the same antibiotic in Milosevic's blood weeks later.
Milosevic asked the tribunal in December for permission to seek heart treatment in Moscow. That request was denied after tribunal officials expressed concern Milosevic might not return. He repeated the request last month.
Milosevic went on trial in February 2002 on 66 counts for war crimes and genocide in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo during Yugoslavia's violent breakup in the 1990s. He was the first sitting head of state indicted for war crimes.
But his health problems repeatedly delayed the proceedings, which cost an estimated $200 million and were due to wrap up this summer.
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