German member of parliament Philipp Missfelder has passed away unexpectedly after suffering a pulmonary embolism, sources from his ruling CDU party say. He was 35.
The German conservative politician died early Monday, at only 35 years old, CDU-parliamentary leader Volker Kauder said in Berlin. The cause of death is believed to be a pulmonary embolism.
"We are upset, stunned and sad," Kauder said. "The CDU/CSU parliamentary fraction is losing one of its most prominent foreign policy experts, and I am losing a personal friend," he added.
Missfelder was a member of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, since 2005. A member of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats, he became the party's foreign policy spokesman in 2009, gathering a reputation among colleagues for his pro-Israeli stance.
"He was very committed to improving transatlantic ties. In addition, he was a proven authority on East Europe and Russia," Kauder said.
"Our thoughts are with his wife and two small children," he added.
Celebrating with Schröder
Missfelder stirred significant controversy about a year ago by attending a birthday celebration for Germany's previous chancellor Gerhard Schröder in Saint Petersburg. Schröder took up a job with Russia's Gazprom in the same year he lost to Merkel.
Russian president Vladimir Putin was also among the guests, and pictures of Schröder warmly receiving the Kremlin chief were sharply criticized by Missfelder's party colleagues at the height of the Ukraine stand-off.
The late politician first came under public focus in 2003, when he publicly called for restrictions in public health service. At the time, he led the CDU's youth wing.
"I don't see any point in 85-year-olds getting hip replacements at the society's expense," Missfelder said, pointing out that before the technology's introduction, people had used crutches.
Many of Missfelder's fellow parliamentarians mourned his passing on Monday. "A good friend gone too soon," wrote Andreas Scheuer, a senior Bavarian conservative, on Twitter.
dj/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)