The Novel Coronavirus has claimed the life of a prominent lawmaker from Germany.

Thomas Schaefer, 54, the finance minister of Hesse state, Germany, was found on a high-speed train line in the town of Hochheim between Frankfurt and Mainz, the police confirmed on Saturday. Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt where major lenders like Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank have their headquarters and the European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.

The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office believes it to be a case of suicide.

State premier Volker Bouffier said on Sunday that Schaefer has apparently committed suicide after becoming “deeply worried” over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

“We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all we are immensely sad,” Bouffier said in a recorded statement.

“Today we have to assume that he was deeply worried,” he said adding, “It’s precisely during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him.”

Schaefer leaves behind a wife and two children and had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier.

Schaefer and Bouffier both belonged to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party.

A visibly shaken Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, who was Hesse’s finance chief for 10 years, had been working “day and night” to help companies and workers deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

(With agency inputs)