Internationally renowned Russian circus clown Oleg Popov has died at the age of 86.
Popov was on tour in Russia's southern city of Rostov when he went into cardiac arrest at his hotel on November 2, said Dmitry Reznichenko, the director of the circus where he was performing.
Russia's Investigative Committee said on November 3 that "pre-investigative checking measures" had been launched into his death. No reasons were given.
Meanwhile, Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky offered his condolences, saying Popov's performances "brought joy and goodness to many generations of our compatriots."
Known as the "Sunshine Clown," Popov was considered one of the last great circus performers.
He studied at the Russian state circus school and spent several years touring the provinces before joining the Moscow State Circus in 1955.
He achieved fame as the state circus's main clown on tours abroad.
Popov was named People's Artist of the Soviet Union in 1969. He moved to Germany in 1991. In the summer of 2015 he began performing again in Russia for the first time in 24 years.
Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, and AFP