The Supreme Lama Dzhampel Lodoi of Russia's Siberian region of Tyva -- a remote area of 330,000 people near the Russia-Mongolia border -- has died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The region's leader, Sholban Kara-Ool, said on June 23 that Lama Dzhampel Lodoi died at the age of 44 while in the hospital, where he had been treated since June 10 after testing positive for the virus.
"I once more want to remind our youth that this illness could be lethal for anyone. We see that this disease can be dangerous for anyone, even for young people," Kara-Ool said.
Dzhampel Lodoi, legally known as Apysh Sat, was elected as Tyva's supreme lama on November 29, 2019. The Turkic-speaking indigenous Tuvan people are mostly Buddhists.
Dzhampel Lodoi's death has highlighted the worsening of the coronavirus situation in the region. On June 23, Tyva's capital, Kyzyl, suspended the operations of the entire public transportation system.
In all, the number of coronavirus cases in Tyva is more than 3,700. Some 1,819 people have been cured of the illness, while at least 39 people diagnosed with COVID-19 have died.
Russia's federal health officials said on June 24 that the total number of coronavirus cases across the country was 606,881, including 8,513 deaths.