Reuters Afghanistan, Pakistan Chief Found Dead

Veteran journalist Maria Golovnina reportedly collapsed at Reuters' Islamabad offices Monday.

Ari Soffer,

Islamabad, Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan

The head of Reuters' Afghanistan and Pakistan bureau died suddenly at the news agency's Islamabad offices on Monday, Pakistani police say.

According to the Express Tribune, 34-year-old Russian national Maria Golovnina had returned home from her office after feeling "heavy headed" and unwell, but returned to work in the afternoon. Soon after, however, she collapsed, and was rushed to Kulsum International Hospital.

Although initial reports all suggest Golovnina died of "natural causes", there are still conflicting reports about the precise sequence of events.

Police claim she simply collapsed on the floor of the offices soon after arriving, while a spokesperson for Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Dr Ayesha Ishani, said she was found dead in the bathroom, and that the door had to be broken down to retrieve her body.

"We are saddened to announce that Maria Golovnina, Reuters Bureau Chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan, passed away on Monday. She was 34," Reuters said in a statement.

"Maria fell unconscious in the Islamabad bureau. An ambulance arrived quickly and she was rushed to Kulsum International Hospital, but medical teams were unable to save her.

"Maria was a superb journalist with a long and varied career at Reuters. A fluent Japanese and Russian speaker, she joined Reuters in Tokyo in 2001 and subsequently worked in postings around the world including London, Singapore, Moscow, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2013, Maria became Bureau Chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and led her team through an impressive run of exclusives and insights. Her talents, energy and can-do spirit will be sorely missed."

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