Minister commits suicide after deeply worried over coronavirus in Germany

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

Schaefer , 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday .

The Wiesbaden prosecution ’ s office said they believe he died by suicide .

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

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 , 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.

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