“With regret, we inform you that … deputy chief physician of anesthesiology and resuscitation of emergency hospital №1, department assistant of Omsk State Medical University, PhD in medical sciences Maximishin Sergey Valentinovich passed away suddenly,” the hospital said in a statement, it did not mention a cause of death.
A spokeswoman for the Omsk regional health ministry told CNN on Friday that according to “preliminary data”, Maximishin had died as a result of a heart attack. He did not provide further details.
Navalny was initially admitted to the acute intoxication unit of Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1 on August 20, after falling ill from exposure to military-grade Novichok on a plane heading from Siberia to Moscow. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk.
Maximishin did not give a press conference at the time of Navalny’s hospitalization. As the deputy chief physician of the hospital for anesthesiology and resuscitation, he was one of the hospital’s senior physicians.
Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s chief of staff, confirmed that Maximishin was in charge of dealing with the opposition leader. “Sergey Maximishin was the head of the department that treated Alexei Navalny and was in charge of his treatment, specifically his medically induced coma,” Volkov told CNN.
“(Maximishin) knew more than anyone about Alexei’s condition, so I cannot rule out the possibility of foul play,” he added.
“However, Russia’s health system is very poor and it is not uncommon for doctors of his age to die suddenly. I doubt there is any investigation into his death,” Volkov continued.
CNN is seeking additional comment from local health authorities on the cause of Maximishin’s death. The deaths of front-line Russian medical workers, including whistleblowers, became a politically charged issue in the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic. CNN has no evidence of foul play.
The Omsk region health minister said in a statement that Maximishin had worked at the hospital for 28 years and saved thousands of lives.
“He brought people back to reality. We will miss Dr. Maximishin very much. He left too early and because of this, the pain of the loss is especially bitter,” Alexander Murakhovsky said in a statement.