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Key figure in Russian doping scandal dies of heart attack

Key figure in Russian doping scandal dies of heart attack
The former executive director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, Nikita Kamaev, has died of a suspected heart attack, becoming the second RUSADA figure to pass away since the body’s leadership resigned in December amid a Russian athletics doping sandal.

The 52-year-old, who was cross country skiing on Sunday, felt a strong pain in his chest as he returned home, Ramil Khabriev, former RUSADA general director, told TASS.

Kamaev’s wife called the ambulance, but the man was already dead when the medics arrived, he said.

According to Khabriev, the likely cause of death of his ex-colleague was a heart attack, but an autopsy will be necessary in order to confirm it.

"I'd never heard him complain of anything to do with his heart. Perhaps his wife knew about some sort of problem," the former RUSADA general director stressed.

RUSADA confirmed Kamaev’s death, with the agency’s acting general director, Anna Antseliovich calling it “a grave and unexpected loss.”

Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, was also “shocked” by the news of the former anti-doping official’s passing, Gazeta.ru reported.

"I would like to express my condolences to the family and relatives. Nikita stood at the origins of the Russian anti-doping organization. He created it. It’s a very unexpected death as he seemed a healthy man,” Mutko said.

Kamaev became RUSADA executive director back in 2011 and remained in the position until his resignation in December 2015.

The whole RUSADA leadership was forced to quit their jobs amid a massive doping scandal, which saw Russia’s track-and-field team banned from competition, putting the athletes’ hopes of performing at the Rio Olympics in 2016 in doubt.

The World Anti-Doping Agency barred RUSADA from making doping tests, blaming the agency of covering up cases of forbidden substance use by athletes, warning them of supposedly surprise tests and other violations.

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Kamaev had denied all accusations, calling them “politicized” and insisted that his organization had been effective at fighting doping.

His death came less than two weeks after the passing of the head of the RUSADA Executive Council and agency’s president until 2010, Vyacheslav Sinev.