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AP Reports Russian Envoy Churkin Died From Heart Attack, Not Foul Play

Vitaly Churkin's grave is covered with flowers at the Troyekurovskoye cemetery in Moscow.
Vitaly Churkin's grave is covered with flowers at the Troyekurovskoye cemetery in Moscow.

The office of New York City’s medical examiner says it will not release the results of an autopsy performed on Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations who died unexpectedly last month.

The Associated Press reported on March 10, however, that the examiner determined that Churkin died from a heart attack and no foul play was suspected. AP cited "senior city officials" who were briefed about the results.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said on March 10 that the State Department had instructed the city not to release the results, citing international law.

"Ambassador Churkin’s diplomatic immunity survives his death," the statement said.

According to Russian officials, Churkin, 64, became ill in his office at Russia's UN mission and was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he died on February 20.

The medical examiner investigates suspicious deaths that occur, for example, by criminal violence, but also when the person seemed healthy or died in an unusual manner.

The office says most of the deaths it investigates are not suspicious.

Churkin had been Russia's ambassador to the world body since 2006.

With reporting by AP
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