The Finance Minister of Germany’s Hesse state, Thomas Schaefer, has committed suicide after expressing “deep worries” over how to cope with the economic fallout from the Coronavirus.
According to state premier Volker Bouffier, Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday.
The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office said they believe he died by suicide.
“We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all we are immensely sad,” Bouffier said in a recorded statement.
A visibly shaken Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, who was Hesse’s finance chief for 10 years, had been working “day and night” to help companies and workers deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Today we have to assume that he was deeply worried,” said Bouffier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“It’s precisely during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him,” he added.
He had a wife and two children.