German State Finance Minister Found Dead

The body of Thomas Schäfer - finance minister of the German state of Hesse, was found lying across high-speed train tracks in the town of Hochheim, located between Frankfurt and Mainz, according to DW, citing local police.

Schäfer's remains were initially unable to be identified due to the extent of the injuries after witnesses reported the body.

According to media in the state of Hesse, the 54-year-old regularly appeared in public in recent days, for example, to inform the public about financial assistance during the coronavirus crisis. Schäfer had been finance minister of Hesse for almost 10 years

The state premier of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, said in a statement Saturday that the state's leadership has received the news with "sadness and disbelief." -DW

"We are all shocked and can hardly believe," he died "so suddenly and unexpectedly" said Bouffier, adding "Our sincere condolences go to his closest relatives."

Schäfer isn't the only high-profile German to meet his end on train tracks.

In 2009, 74-year-old billionaire Adolf Merckle committed suicide after pushing his business empire to the edge of ruin with a speculative bet on Volkswagen stock that went wrong. He was found dead on railroad tracks near his villa in the southern German hamlet of Blaubeuren.

Merckle lost hundreds of millions of euros after he was "caught in a brief but ferocious speculative riptide linked to a campaign by Porsche, the sports car manufacturer, to seize control of Volkswagen," reported the New York Times at the time. As a result, he was facing a massive liquidation of his empire to cover the bad bet.

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