Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, died suddenly Monday morning in New York City.
Churkin, a day shy of turning 65, was the nation's UN ambassador since 2006.
The New York Daily News reports Churkin died of a heart attack Monday morning. No foul play is suspected.
Churkin's death was announced at the United Nations.
Absolutely devastated to hear that my friend & colleague Vitaly Churkin has died. A diplomatic giant & wonderful character. RIP— Matthew Rycroft (@MatthewRycroft1) February 20, 2017
Fellow diplomats paid tribute on Twitter.
Churkin most recently sparred with American diplomat Samantha Power, who tried to shame him for the massacre of civilians in Aleppo, Syria. In that exchange, he compared her to "Mother Teresa."
Despite their disputes, Power tweeted calling him a "diplomatic maestro" and a "deeply caring man" who did all he could to bridge differences between the countries.
Devastated by passing of Russian UN Amb Vitaly Churkin.Diplomatic maestro &deeply caring man who did all he cld to bridge US-RUS differences— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) February 20, 2017
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