Editor-in-chief of Russian newspaper has mysteriously 'suffocated' on business trip
It's the latest in a string of deaths of Vladimir Putin allies.
Vladimir Sungorkin, editor-in-chief of pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, has died at the age of 68.
According to a report by the state-run Interfax news agency, the 68-year-old journalist suffered a stroke while on a business trip to the Khabarovsk territory in Russia's far east.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, however, posted a message on its Telegram account saying Sungorkin died “suddenly” after showing signs of “suffocation” during the trip on this week.
"Sungorkin had died suddenly during a trip to collect material for a book about the great pioneer of the Far East, Vladimir Arseniev," it said.
Leonid Zakharov, who accompanied Sungorkin on the trip, spoke about his death in a Russian state newspaper: "It happened absolutely suddenly, nothing foreshadowed. We were in the village of Roshchino.
"We were driving, we were already making our way towards Khabarovsk, we planned to get there in the evening today, and from there to Moscow. All was good."
After stopping for lunch, Zakharov said: "Vladimir began to suffocate. We took him out for fresh air, he was already unconscious, in fact, we did some heart massage, artificial respiration... nothing helped."
The tabloid has been described as Putin's "favorite paper" and was founded in 1925.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Sungorkin's death "a great loss" this week.
"Today is sad news, unfortunately, Sungorkin passed away. We knew him very well," he said.
Sungorkin’s death comes on the back of the mysterious passing of a number of Putin allies this month, including aviation director for Russia’s Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, Ivan Pechorin.