Czech and Slovak MPs observed a minute of silence at the beginning of Tuesday’s session in memory of Jaroslav Kubera, the head of the Czech Senate, who died suddenly on Monday at 72 years of age.
Kubera experienced a sudden cardiac arrest at his office in Teplice, the city he was a mayor of. He was taken to the local hospital but died after a transfer to a better-equipped facility in Ústí nad Labem.
Kubera was the chairman of the Czech Senate, the upper house of the Parliament, since 2018. He was known for his humorous statements, which entertained not only his colleagues in politics but also the public. He especially liked to poke fun at his own smoking habits.
On Tuesday, senators proposed to hold a state of national mourning for the deceased politician. The proposal is yet to be approved by the government.
“He’s a person I liked very much. He created a unique new dynamic in the senate. I’m in shock,” commented Prime Minister Andrej Babiš upon hearing the news.
Last week, Kubera attended a New Year’s lunch with President Miloš Zeman and the head of the Chamber of Deputies, Radek Vondráček. After the lunch meeting, he joked about his interactions with the president and appeared to be in good health.
The late Kubera, who was the second-highest constitutional official in the country at the time of his passing, is eligible for a state funeral. However, the family will probably want to say their last farewells in a private service for family and friends.
Kubera was in the Czech Senate since 2000 and is survived by his wife and two daughters.