Jurgen Conings went on the run after threatening public figures (Image: BELGIAN FEDERAL POLICE/AFP via G)
Get our daily coronavirus email newsletter with all the news you need to know direct to your inbox
Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Your information will be used in accordance with ourPrivacy Notice.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice
A man who was dubbed the "Belgian Rambo" as he vowed to "fight to the death" over coronavirus restrictions has been found dead.
Jurgen Conings, 46, was on the run after escaping from his home near the Dutch border on May 17 and was said to be heavily armed.
He threatened virologist Marc Van Ranst – who led Belgium's public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic – and police launched a manhunt to find him.
Now, a month since the initial search began, Belgian officers said the man's body was found in woods near Dilsen-Stockhem, in the province of Limburg, by people walking in the area.
Belgian army members were part of a search mission to find Conings
Johan Tollenaere, of the eastern town of Maaseik, told VRT News: "During my mountain bike tour this morning, in a part where few people come, I smelled a strong corpse odour.
"I immediately thought of Jurgen Conings and notified the police. They found the body."
The far-right soldier probably "died by suicide by firearm", the Belgian federal prosecutors' office said in a statement.
Soldiers patrolling Nationaal Park Hoge Kempen in Maasmechelen
(Image: Belga/AFP via Getty Images)
However, they said the cause of death will "have to be established during a future forensic examination."
Hundreds of special forces soldiers were deployed to try and find Conings, who was on an anti-terrorism watchlist.
Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told VTM Nieuws at the time: "There are indications that he is violent and, in the last 24 hours, evidence has emerged that the man poses an acute threat."
The manhunt began when Conings disappeared on May 17
He had a three-decade career as an expert marksman before he started making threats and racist remarks on Facebook.
Conings was handed disciplinary sanctions but still allowed to work with weapons.
He had hidden anti-tank missile launchers and other heavy arms in an army barracks before disappearing.
The search dominated newspaper headlines in the country and Conings was labelled "Belgian Rambo" after the 1980s action film starring Sylvester Stallone.
Following the threats by Conings, Van Ranst and his family had been moved to a safe location.
After news of the discovery of a body yesterday, the virologist tweeted: "My thoughts go out to the relatives and children of Jurgen Conings.
"For them this is very sad news, because they lose a father, a relative or a friend."