Karin Strenz, a German lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party, died on Sunday after collapsing on a plane travelling to Germany from Cuba alongside her husband, AFP reported.
After she lost consciousness, the plane made an emergency landing in Ireland but the 53-year-old MP could not be rescued. Authorities have not revealed the cause of Strenz's death, which is being investigated, the spokesperson for the office of the public prosecutor of Schwerin told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
There will be a request for information and assistance from Ireland, where the autopsy is expected to take place, the spokesperson added.
German media is reporting that Strenz suffered from heart problems but this has not been confirmed.
It’s not clear what the CDU member was doing in Cuba but authorities say she travelled there in a personal capacity.
Fellow CDU member Eckhardt Rehberg, who first confirmed the news about her death to the press, has expressed his condolences to Strenz’s family.
He was echoed by Irish Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney who described it as “a sad story” on Twitter.
This is such a sad story. Our condolences & sympathy are with the family of Mrs Karin Strenz, her husband in particular, and to all her colleagues in the German Parliament and CDU Party. @dfatirl @GermanyDiplo https://t.co/Q99yW0aaj4— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) March 22, 2021
Strenz was a member of the Bundestag from 2009 representing a constituency in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
From 2017 onwards, the lawmaker was embroiled in a money-laundering scandal in relation to the flow of billions of dollars to European companies from Azerbaijan from 2012-2014. Strenz left the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) following the controversy.
She was accused of carrying out lobbying work for Azerbaijan and had to pay a fine for failing to declare external income. The investigation and raids in relation to the scandal continued through last year.
Strenz previously signalled she was not planning to run for re-election to the Bundestag in September.