German minister commits suicide; was worried about #Coronavirus crisis: Reports
Thomas Schaefer, the Finance Minister of the German state of Hesse, which includes Frankfurt, has been found dead on Saturday. His body was reportedly found on the railway tracks at Hochheim, near Frankfurt. According to the authorities, the 54-year-old minister appears to have committed suicide as he was "deeply worried" about coping with the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis. Here are more details.
On Sunday, the Governor of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, suggested that Schaefer was in despair over the coronavirus crisis and its fallout. "We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all we are immensely sad," the state Governor said in a statement. Notably, Schaefer was a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) political party.
Police and prosecutors stated that after considering various factors, including their own observations and questioning of witnesses, they concluded Schaefer committed suicide. Further details weren't revealed. According to authorities, an investigation at the scene of suicide confirmed his identity. Witnesses had informed paramedics of the presence of a body on the tracks but they were unable to identify it immediately because of the injuries.
"Today, we have to assume that he (Schaefer) was deeply worried. It's precisely during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him," said Bouffier, a close ally of Chancellor Merkel. Meanwhile, outgoing CDU leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said his sudden death has shocked her and the party members as well. She tweeted, "It has hit us and left us sad and stunned."
"His (Schaefer's) main concern was whether he could manage to fulfill the huge expectations of the population, especially in terms of financial aid," Bouffier said. "I have to assume that these worries overwhelmed him. For him, there was clearly no way out. He was disappointed and so he had to leave us. That has shocked us, has shocked me," the state Governor added.
Schaefer, an active member in the Hessian state politics for more than two decades, had been the Finance Minister of the state for nearly 10 years. He was a quite popular and well-respected politician. Notably, he had widely been considered as a possible successor to Bouffier. Schaefer is survived by his wife and two children.