The State Department ordered the New York Medical Examiner's office not to reveal Russian diplomat Vitaly Churkin's cause of death after the official abruptly died a day shy of his 65th birthday last month. said Friday that Office of Chief Medical Examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer told the New York Times, "In order to comply with international law and protocol, the New York City Law Department has instructed the Office of Chief Medical Examiner to not publicly disclose the cause and manner of death of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations."

She went on, "As outlined in formal requests from the United States Department of State, Ambassador Churkin's diplomatic immunity survives his death. Further questions concerning this matter should be directed to the United States Department of State."

Churkin served as Russia's ambassador to the United Nations beginning in 2006. His cause of death is still apparently a state secret. Initial reports claimed there was no indication of foul play.