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Former Putin Aide and RT Founder Died of Blunt Force Trauma, Medical Examiner Says

The former press aide to Russia’s president, who was found dead in a Washington hotel room last November, died of trauma to the head — not of a heart attack as originally said.

by VICE News
Mar 10 2016, 11:30pm

Imagen vía EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky

The former press aide to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who was found dead in a Washington, DC hotel room last November, died of blunt force trauma to the head, DC's chief medical examiner revealed Thursday.

Mikhail Lesin died from "blunt force injuries to the head," along with injuries to his neck, torso and limbs, according to the medical examiner's report. The injuries seem to indicate Lesin may have been murdered, although the medical examiner did not specify the cause of death and declined to say whether a crime was committed. But the medical examiner added that "We're not willing to close off anything at this point," reported the Washington Post.

Lesin was the former Russian press secretary and director of state media giant Gazprom Media. He is also known for starting the English-language site, Russia Today, now known as RT, which generally takes a pro-Russian government line.

The discovery of Lesin's body on November 5 in the US capital raised suspicions over whether he had been killed but until today, the details of his death have remained shrouded in mystery. DC police launched a formal investigation into Lesin's death immediately after his body was found. At the time, his family said he had died of a heart attack.

Lesin created the iconic "Vote with your heart" and "I believe, I love, I hope" campaign commercials for Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and headed the Kremlin's public relations office from 1996 to 1997.

Putin expressed his condolences to Lesin's family via state media soon after he was found dead in November.

"The president has a high appreciation for Mikhail Lesin's massive contribution to the creation of modern Russian mass media," Putin's press service said.