German Ambassador to China and former foreign policy advisor to Angela Merkel, Jan Hecker passed away suddenly only days after he took the office. The reason behind the death not yet confirmed.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry website in its statement said, “It is with deep sadness and dismay that we learned of the sudden death of the German ambassador to China.”
According to reports, Ambassador Hecker had appeared happy and alright during an event at Beijing with German artist Joseph Beuys last friday, a guest at the event had said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded saying, “We are shocked to learn about the sudden death of Ambassador Hecker, who had been working actively to promote China-Germany relations since assuming his post.” He also said that the Chinese government would help Hecker’s family. According to the Chinese Embassy, Hecker joined his office on August 24.
Jan Hecker, 54, was a confidant of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and member of the team coordinating refugee policy in the migrant crisis of 2015 and played a crucial role in Angela Merkel’s mission of resettling the refugees.
Angela Merkel expressed grief in a statement that she made on Monday. “I am profoundly shaken by Jan Hecker’s death,” she said adding, “I mourn for a highly valued, longstanding adviser of deep humanity and outstanding expertise.” The statement further added “I think with gratitude of our work together and am happy to have been so closely tied to him for years. My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife, his children and his other loved ones in their immeasurable grief.”
Germany and European Union flags at the Germany embassy in Beijing flew at half mast on Monday.