China urges India,Pak to exercise ''restraint'' after Uri attack
The news came around the time of the daily noon briefing at the UN and deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq was visibly shocked when a journalist mentioned that Churkin has died.
"Oh! Oh, no. This just happened? He's been such a regular presence here that it's... that I'm actually quite stunned.
And our thoughts go to his family, to his friends, and to his Government," Haq said.
UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson said: "His name will live on in the annals of UN history. We will remember him for his intellect and diplomatic skill, his good humour and consideration for others. We all experienced and respected the pride he took in serving his country and the passion and resolution he brought to his job."
Appointed the Permanent Representative to the UN in 2006, Churkin was one of Russia's longest-serving ambassadors to the UN.
Churkin often clashed with American colleagues in the Security Council and fiercely defended Russia's policies, including Moscow's actions in Ukraine and its bombing of the Syrian city Aleppo to oust rebels opposed to President Bashar Al-Assad.
In December, when the Council argued on actions in Syria, former US envoy Samantha Power asked Syria and its allies Russia and Iran whether they are "truly incapable of shame?"
Retorting Power's remarks, Churkin said she was speaking "as if she was Mother Teresa".
On Monday, Power tweeted, "Devastated by passing of Russian UN Amb Vitaly Churkin.
Diplomatic maestro &deeply caring man who did all he cld to bridge US-RUS differences".