Son of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev dies at home in Rhode Island

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 1959, file photo, then-New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, third from left, and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, fourth from left, pose during the governor's visit to the premier's suite in New York's Waldorf-Astoria. From left, are: the premier's wife, Nina, Soviet Ambassador to the U.S. Mikhail Menshikov, Gov. Rockefeller, Rada Adzhubel, the premier's daughter, and Sergei Khrushchev, far right, the premier's son. Sergei Khrushchev died Thursday, June 18, 2020, at his home in Cranston, Rhode Island. He was 84. AP Photo, File

CRANSTON, R.I. — Sergei Khrushchev, the son of late Cold War-era Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and who became a U.S. citizen in 1999, has died at his Rhode Island home, authorities said. He was 84.

The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, according to Joseph Wendelken, a spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office.

Cranston police Maj. Todd Patalano told The Providence Journal there were no signs of foul play.

Police responded to Khrushchev’s Cranston home last Thursday morning after getting a call from his wife, Patalano said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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The younger Khrushchev was a rocket scientist in the Soviet Union and moved to Rhode Island in 1991 to lecture on the Cold War at Brown University.

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He and his wife, Valentina, became naturalized U.S. citizens in July 1999.

“I’m feeling like a newborn. It’s the beginning of a new life,” Sergei Khrushchev told The Associated Press after taking the oath of citizenship inside a Roman Catholic school auditorium.

Click to play video: 'Russian officer credited for averting nuclear war passes away'
Russian officer credited for averting nuclear war passes away

In a different interview, he said he hoped his father, who died in 1971, would be supportive of his American citizenship.

“After all, it’s not as if I’m defecting,” he said.

Khrushchev’s funeral will be held in Moscow in October, his widow told TASS, the Russian news agency. She said she did not wish to speak when reached by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

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