On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the New York City medical examiner’s office will not release the cause of death for Vitaly Churkin, the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations that died suddenly in New York last month.
An initial autopsy was performed shortly after Churkin’s death, but Julie Bolcer, a spokesperson for the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, said that more tests needed to be conducted to determine the cause. On Friday, Bolcer said that the NYC law department instructed the medical examiner’s office to not share the findings.
In February, the U.S. State Department requested that Churkin’s cause of death not be released to the public because his “diplomatic immunity survives his death,” the AP reported.
From the AP:
The medical examiner investigates deaths that occur by criminal violence, accident or suicide or when the death is sudden. It also takes the case when the person seemed healthy, or died in an unusual manner. Most of the deaths investigated by the office are not suspicious.
Churkin died suddenly after being rushed to the hospital on February 20 in New York. Churkin, who died a day before his 65th birthday, 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 Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following his death. “We offer our condolences to the relatives of Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin.”