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German Minister Thomas Schaefer commits suicide over Coronavirus crisis

Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state, has committed suicide after becoming “deeply worried” on how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis, state premier Volker Bouffier said on Sunday.

The lifeless body of Thomas, a 54-year-old member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, was found Saturday on railway tracks at Hochheim, with Wiesbaden prosecution’s office saying they believe he died by suicide.

“We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all we are immensely sad,” Volker Bouffier said in a recorded statement.

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 leaves behind a wife and two children.

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