Germany 's ambassador to China has died suddenly less than two weeks after taking up his post, the German government said on Monday. There was no suggestion that the death of Jan Hecker, previously a senior adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel , was linked to his role, the Foreign Ministry said. The short Foreign Ministry statement announcing the 54-year-old's death gave no details of where or when Hecker died, nor did it provide a cause of death. Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse said there were 'no indications that the death is connected to Ambassador Hecker's political function.' When asked whether authorities will release further details, she told a regular government news conference that the ministry had nothing to add at present. Germany's ambassador to China Jan Hecker (left) has died suddenly less than two weeks after taking up his post, the German government said on Monday. Hecker was previously a senior adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel (centre) with whom he is pictured at a 2019 conference in Berlin The short Foreign Ministry statement announcing the 54-year-old's death gave no details of where or when Hecker died, nor did it provide a cause of death [File photo] German and European Union flags flew at half-mast on Monday at the embassy in Beijing (pictured) after Hecker's death was announced German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reiterated this, telling DPA news agency: 'based on the circumstances of the death, we have no indications that Jan Hecker's passing was related in any way at all to his professional role as German ambassador in Beijing.' Hecker, who became ambassador in August, was married and had three children, according to his biography on the Foreign Ministry website. He arrived in China on August 1 and presented his credentials on August 24, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Reuters reported that, like all new arrivals in China, Hecker would have been required to spend time in quarantine as a coronavirus precaution. In 2015, Hecker, a former Interior Ministry official and then a judge at Germany's Federal Administrative Court, started work at the chancellery as the head of a unit coordinating refugee policy. In this role, he was a key player in realising Merkel's plans to accept one million asylum seekers into Germany during Europe's refugee crisis. He became Merkel's foreign policy adviser – an influential post, though one with a low public profile – in 2017. Merkel said in a statement that Hecker's death 'shocks me deeply'. 'I am mourning an esteemed long-time adviser with deep humanity and outstanding expertise,' the chancellor said. 'I think with gratitude of our work together and am happy to have been so closely tied to him for years. My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife, his children and his other loved ones in their immeasurable grief'. Hecker (right) speaks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (left) following a meeting with Angela Merkel in Berlin in June Maas also expressed his condolences, saying in a Twitter post that he was 'deeply shocked' by Hecker's sudden passing, adding that the Foreign Ministry has lost an 'outstanding and valued' colleague. The Chinese government also offered its condolences and said it would provide assistance to Hecker's family and the embassy. 'We are shocked to learn of this sudden death of Ambassador Jan Hecker, who had been working actively to promote China-Germany relations since assuming his post,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing in Beijing. Hecker had appeared 'happy and all right' when he hosted an event about German artist Joseph Beuys at his Beijing home last Friday, a guest at the event said. German and European Union flags flew at half-mast on Monday at the embassy in Beijing. Deputy ambassador Frank Ruckert, will take over ambassadorial duties for the time being, DW reported. In 2015, Hecker, a former Interior Ministry official and then a judge at Germany's Federal Administrative Court, started work at the chancellery as the head of a unit coordinating refugee policy. He became Merkel's foreign policy adviser – an influential post, though one with a low public profile – in 2017. Pictured: Hecker (second from left) with then-German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (centre) before a cabinet meeting in 2018 [File photo]