The body of a man identified as Thomas Schäfer, the finance minister of the German state of Hesse, was found on a high-speed train line in the town of Hochheim between Frankfurt and Mainz, police confirmed Saturday.
The presence of a body on the tracks was first reported by witnesses to paramedics, who were unable to initially identify the remains due to the extent of the injuries.
Investigators said an investigation on the scene confirmed the identity of the man as Schäfer and that the death was likely a suicide. Police did not immediately release further details of the case.
The politician apparently left a note before taking his own life, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, citing sources close to the investigation. The note, according to the report, referenced Schäfer’s reasons for taking the step.
Schäfer had been widely expected to succeed state premier, Volker Bouffier, if he decided not to stand for re-election in 2023.
In a statement, Bouffier said that the state’s leadership has received the news with “sadness and disbelief.”
Bouffier also said that Schäfer had been living under considerable worry and stress because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
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