Autopsy reveals how former Putin aide died in upscale D.C. hotel

Mikhail Lesin in central Moscow, Russia, in this file photo from March 27, 2002.

REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin/Files

WASHINGTON -- An autopsy has found that blunt force trauma to the head was the cause of death for one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's former aides whose body was found in an upscale Washington hotel room.

District of Columbia police spokesman Officer Hugh Carew confirmed the autopsy results for Mikhail Lesin on Thursday. The D.C. Medical Examiner's Office said in a statement that other contributing causes were blunt force injuries of the neck, torso, arms and legs.

The medical examiner found the manner of death to be undetermined. Carew says police continue to investigate Lesin's death. His body was found at the Doyle Dupont Circle Hotel in November.

Russian media had reported that Lesin suffered a heart attack, citing relatives.

Lesin was a media adviser to Putin who helped found the English-language news service Russia Today.

Lesin pushed for establishing the Russia Today satellite TV channel, later renamed RT, once saying that Russia "must do propaganda for ourselves, otherwise we'll always look like bears." RT credited Lesin with "inspiring the creation" of the agency.

Since its 2005 inception, RT has become widely watched internationally but frequently criticized as a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and for presenting highly skewed reports.

Lesin served as Russian press minister from 1999 to 2004 and presidential media adviser from 2004 to 2009, RT said. He then became a senior executive at Gazprom-Media, Russia's largest media holding company.

In November, Putin said Lesin made great contributions to "modern Russian mass media," Russian news agencies said.