( CNN) Tributes poured in Monday for Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations who died suddenly in New York. He was remembered for his intellect, wit and the pride he took in serving our own countries.

Churkin succumbed the working day before his 65 th birthday.

The diplomat suffered from cardiac arrest while at the Russian Mission on East 67 th Street, a law enforcement official said. He was taken to New York's Presbyterian Hospital, where he died.

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