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Former boxing champion Arturo Gatti's body was found in a Brazilian hotel room earlier this month. ((Richard Drew/Associated Press))

At the family's request, a Quebec coroner has agreed to exhume the body of former boxing champion Arturo Gatti so that two pathologists can conduct a second autopsy.

His family refuses to believe Gatti committed suicide, as Brazilian authorities affirmed Thursday.

Montreal coroner Jean Brochu said it will be several weeks before the results of the autopsy will be released. One of the problems facing the pathologists is that the body was embalmed before it was sent back to Canada for burial.

On Friday, Canada's foreign affairs minister added his voice to those of the family in seeking more details about the Montrealer's death in Brazil.

Lawrence Cannon asked officials in his department to formally seek more information from Brazilian authorities, who ruled on Thursday, following a first post-mortem, that Gatti's July 11 death was a suicide.

"Consular assistance continues to be delivered to family members. Our thoughts are with Mr. Gatti's family during these difficult times," Cannon said.

Also Friday, Brazilian police released more information to support their finding that Gatti killed himself.

Police said the boxer hanged himself at a resort in northeastern Brazil with a bag strap that he tied around a wooden staircase column more than two metres off the ground.

Police first thought Gatti, whose adopted hometown was Montreal, was strangled by his wife because his body was found on the floor, according to police spokeswoman Milena Saraiva.

Markings on staircase

But an autopsy report indicated Gatti was suspended off the ground for some three hours. A crime scene analysis found markings on the staircase column, she said.

Gatti's body was found in the hotel room in Porto de Galinhas. His widow, Amanda Rodrigues, 23, was detained for nearly three weeks on suspicion of murder.

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Amanda Rodrigues, front, Gatti's widow, leaves a women's jail with her sister Flavia in Brazil on Thursday. ((Clemilson Campos/JC Imagem/Reuters))

But on Thursday, state court Judge Ildete Verissimo de Lima in the city of Recife ordered that Rodrigues be released immediately.

"The victim… committed suicide by hanging," Lima ruled, referring to the findings of a police investigation.

Joe Gatti said he's stunned that his brother's widow has been exonerated.

"It's a Third World country. It is hard — they got their own rules. We can't take her into our country — into Canada — and indict her there, or try her there. But come on!" he said.

'Lengthy process'

Gatti family friend Ivano Scarpa said the release of Gatti's widow will impede the effort to bring Gatti's son, 10-month-old Arturo Jr., back to Canada.

"It's going to be a lengthy process. Obviously the fact that she's out, walking, doesn't help the family here," he said.

Scarpa said he hoped the results of a Canadian autopsy would support the Gatti family's claim for custody of the boy.

Former boxing champion Otis Grant said he doesn't have much faith in the results of the investigation in Brazil.

"I can tell you for a fact that the Arturo that everybody knew was a guy that loved his friends, loved his family, loved being who he was. So, for him to commit suicide just doesn't make sense," Grant said.

Grant says nobody he's spoken to in the boxing world believes Gatti killed himself.

"He was someone who brought a great credibility to this city. And as far as I'm concerned, his legacy as a boxer is cemented in history as one of the greatest, one of the most exciting fighters that ever put on a pair of boxing gloves."

 

With files from The Associated Press