Three weeks after the death of world-famous artist Robert Indiana, who lived and died on Vinalhaven, authorities have not determined what killed him.

“The case for Robert Indiana is not yet finalized, and I can’t give you a guestimate of when it will be completed,” said Mark Belserene, administrator of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, in an email Friday morning.

Robert Indiana

Indiana died on the island May 19 at the age of 89. An FBI agent investigating possible art fraud related to Indiana ordered an autopsy on May 22. Last week, Belserene said it could take up to two weeks to receive results of all the lab and toxicology tests. On Friday, he said the amount of time it’s taking is not unusual and that it sometimes can be extended by the doctor ordering more tests “so nothing is overlooked.”

Indiana was best known for his widely reproduced “LOVE” sculpture, which was made in 1970, was used on a postage stamp and remains one of American art’s most iconic images. He also made works of art related to Maine, including a piece commissioned by the state that hangs in the State House.

His will calls for his Vinalhaven home, a former Odd Fellows Hall known as the Star of Hope and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to be turned into a museum.

The day before Indiana died, he was named in a lawsuit filed by an art foundation that holds copyright and trademark rights to some of his work. The timing of his death, the day after he was named in the federal suit, raised suspicions, and a lawyer representing the foundation asked for a formal inquiry to rule out foul play.

A lawyer representing Morgan Art Foundation did not return a phone call Friday morning. Indiana’s Rockland-based attorney, James Brannan, attributed the artist’s death to respiratory failure and said Friday he thought it could take up to six weeks for the autopsy results. Indiana had been ill and not seen publicly for many months prior to his death.

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