On Monday, the Russian Federation confirmed that the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, died suddenly after being rushed to the hospital Monday morning in New York. Churkin, who would have turned 65 on Tuesday, had served as a permanent representative to the United Nations since 2006.
“The outstanding Russian diplomat died while he was in his current working role,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We offer our condolences to the relatives of Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin.”
Authorities arrived at the Russian consulate at 9:30 AM Monday morning and found Churkin in cardiac arrest. He was brought to New York Presbyterian Hospital where he was found dead. According to the NY Daily News, police sources stated that no foul play is suspected.
News of his death was met by shock at the U.N. on Monday when the announcement was made.
Shocking news to hear the passing away of Amb Vitaly Churkin. A brilliant ambassador who served his country & people. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/pFodXqs5Qm
— @kamaNY (@kamapradipta) February 20, 2017
Churkin was interviewed by Russia Today approximately two weeks ago. The interviewer, Alexey Yaroshevsky, said in a tweet that Churkin looked to be in “good health” and was very energetic during the interview.” Yaroshevk added that the news left him “shocked.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said she was “devastated” upon hearing the news.
“Devastated by passing of Russian UN Amb Vitaly Churkin.Diplomatic maestro &deeply caring man who did all he cld to bridge US-RUS differences,” Power tweeted.
Matthew Rycroft, the U.K. Ambassador to the U.N., tweeted that he too was devastated by the loss of “a diplomatic giant.”
“Absolutely devastated to hear that my friend & colleague Vitaly Churkin has died. A diplomatic giant & wonderful character. RIP,” Rycroft tweeted.