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Germany's ambassador to China dies shortly after taking job

By Euronews
In this June 13, 2019, file photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, talks to then foreign policy advisor Jan Hecker, left.   -   Copyright  Markus Schreiber/AP Photo, FILE

Germany's newly appointed ambassador to China, Jan Hecker, has died, the country's foreign office announced in a statement.

"It is with deep sadness and consternation that we heard the sudden death of the German ambassador to China, Prof. Dr. Jan Hecker, experienced," Germany's Federal Foreign Office said on Monday.

"At this moment, our thoughts are with his family and those close to him."

They gave no further information about where or how Hecker, 54, died.

According to his biography on their website, he was married with three children and had become Ambassador to China in August.

Hecker previously worked as Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy coordinator from 2015 to 2017 and then served as her foreign policy adviser.

Prior to that, he worked as a lawyer and a judge as well as in the interior ministry.

Merkel said the death had shaken her: "I mourn a highly esteemed long-time advisor of deep humanity and outstanding expertise."

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"I think of our collaboration with gratitude and am happy to have been so closely connected with him over the years. My deepest condolences go to his wife, children and loved ones in their immeasurable pain," Merkel said in a statement.

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