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A top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has died this week after an alleged stroke while on a business trip.
Vladimir Sungorkin has died at the age of 68, and was the Editor-in-Chief of pro-Kremlin newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.
According to the newspaper, he was in the village of Roshchino in Russia’s far east region when he became unwell.
Sungorkin reportedly died 'suddenly' after showing signs of 'suffocation' during the trip on Wednesday (14 September).
His colleague Leonid Zakharov, who was accompanying Sungorkin on the business trip, spoke about his death in the 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."
Zakharov continues by saying that his colleague fell unconscious just minutes after suggesting they find 'a beautiful place' for lunch.
"Three minutes later, 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 doctor who did the initial examination said that apparently, it was a stroke. But this is the initial conclusion."
Sungorkin flew through the ranks at Komsomolskaya Pravda, starting as a correspondent to becoming the Editor-in-Chief and General Director of the Russian newspaper.
Komsomolskaya Pravda has been long regarded as a pro-Kremlin media outlet.
Vladimir Putin even congratulated the paper on the 95th anniversary of its first issue in 2020.
Back then, the Russian President said: "The legendary Komsomolka has traveled a long creative path over these years and has written brilliant unforgettable pages in the history of the Russian media.
"It is crucial that the current staff of the newspaper pass on these traditions from generation to generation and strive to retain the newspaper’s flagship position in the Russia media market."
A Kremlin spokesperson issued a statement on Wednesday (14 September) expressing its condolences to the journalist's family.
They said: "This is a great loss. Today is sad news, unfortunately, Sungorkin passed away. We knew him very well."
The passing of Sungorkin comes after a few allies to the Russian President have died in the last month.
Most recently, Ivan Pechorin, aviation director for Russia’s Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, was reported dead by local media outlets after allegedly falling from a boat in Vladivostok - a major port city in the country.