Milosevic died because of heart attack, autopsy points

The body of Slobodan Milosevic will be released to his family as early as Monday as additional tests are being carried out on the cause of death for the former Yugoslav president.

Preliminary autopsy results released late Sunday indicated that Milosevic died of a heart attack, according to a spokeswoman for the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

Two pathologists from Belgrade attended the procedure and gave the tribunal a summary, said spokeswoman Alexandra Milenov.

"According to the pathologists, the cause of death was a myocardial infarction," or heart attack, she said.

The pathologists also said two heart conditions the former leader suffered from "would explain the myocardial infarction," according to Milenov.

Still, she stressed, the cause of death was preliminary, and a toxicology report would still be carried out. She said a final report would not be complete for several days.

Milosevic was found dead Saturday in his cell. The remains will be released to his family Monday, she said. The autopsy was carried out by Dutch authorities, with the two Serbian doctors overseeing their work.

Word of the results came as U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte characterized as "rumors" some suggestions that Milosevic may have committed suicide or been poisoned, as his lawyer and some of his supporters have charged.

"Until we have precise facts and results, it's absolutely rumors," she said. "So, I'm not commenting on these rumors."

She expressed regret and frustration that Milosevic died before his trial was ended and a verdict reached, reports CNN.

I.L.