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Van Gogh death an accident, not suicide, claims new book

HE is one of the biggest names in art history, who was believed to have had an equally momentous death.

However, a new book to be published next week will contend that the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh did not, in fact, commit suicide.

Van Gogh: The Life, to be featured on US show 60 Minutes, is the result of 10 years of research by authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.

The authors believe Van Gogh died because of a shooting accident.

Van Gogh, a Dutch post-impressionist who died in 1890 aged 37, suffered from mental illness throughout his life.

Popular opinion is that he shot himself in the chest with a revolver in the countryside outside Paris, dying from his wounds two days later.

However, the US authors claim to have uncovered new evidence which suggest the most likely cause of death was a malfunctioning pistol.

The book relies on previously untranslated letters belonging to Van Gogh's family.