Germany’s Ambassador to China Jan Hecker is dead, German Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday.
The cause and exact time of his death is still unclear. Hecker, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s diplomatic and security adviser, only started his job in Beijing two weeks ago.
“It is with deep sadness and dismay that we were told of the sudden death of the German ambassador to China,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement.
“Our thoughts at the moment are with his family and the people who were close to him.”
Hecker’s immediate family is currently in Beijing. He was left by his wife, who also worked at the embassy, and three children.
Hecker, a former federal judge and coordinator of Germany’s refugee policy, was a close aide to Merkel. His appointment to China was seen as the outgoing chancellor’s bid to ensure diplomatic stability for German-Chinese relations.