Germany’s Finance Minister of Hesse state, Thomas Schaefer, has committed suicide after becoming “deeply worried” on how to cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19.
The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office said they believe he commited suicide, after been found dead near a railway track on Saturday.
In a statement by state premier Volker Bouffier said Sunday, “We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all we are immensely sad.”
Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.
A visibly shaken Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, 54, 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.
Popular and well-respected, Schaefer had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier. Like Bouffier, Schaefer belonged to Merkel’s centre-right CDU party. He leaves behind a wife and two children.