01:24 GMT17 January 2021
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    Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, who oversaw the US Middle East operations, was found dead in an "apparent suicide".

    In a video posted on Saturday afternoon, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson confirmed that Stearney, who was the commander of the military branch’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, was found dead in his residence in the Persian Gulf island nation, adding that “no foul play is suspected” in his death and that the department will launch an investigation.

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    "The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are cooperating on the investigation, but at this time no foul play is suspected," Richardson said.

    Defence officials told CBS News they are calling it an “apparent suicide”.

    "This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet, and for the entire Navy. Scott Stearney was a decorated naval warrior. He was a devoted husband and father, and he was a good friend to all of us,” Richardson added.

    The admiral oversaw thousands of US sailors and other forces and served previously as the operations director of US Central Command, as well as chief of staff for joint task forces in Afghanistan. He had served in the US Navy for 36 years.

    Rear Admiral Paul Schlise succeeded Stearney on Saturday as commander of the Fifth Fleet, according to Richardson.


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