Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the United Nations, and one of the most colorful and witty diplomats in the world body since his appointment in 2006, died in New York of a heart attack Monday, one day before his 65th birthday. Churkin was at the Russian embassy when he experienced a heart attack and was rushed to the New York Presbyterian Hospital where he died. The longest-serving member of the Security Council, his death stunned diplomatic colleagues at UN headquarters.
Churkin had a doctorate in history and was a graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. And he was a child actor in what was then the Soviet Union.