Churkin would have turned 65 on Tuesday. 
The announcement “of the untimely passing away of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin this morning” was met with shock when it was delivered during a session at the UN headquarters.
“He was a dear colleague of all of us, a deeply committed diplomat of his country and one of the finest people we have known,” a UN official who delivered the news to her colleagues said.
The moment of silence in Churkin’s memory was announced at the UN.
“He was an outstanding person. He was brilliant, bright, a great diplomat of our age,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RT, adding that the news of Churkin’s death was “completely shocking.”
President Putin has expressed his condolences to Churkin’s family and to all Russian diplomats.
Churkin fell ill in his office at Russia’s UN mission and was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he died Monday, AP reported, citing Russia’s deputy UN …
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