The naval commander who oversees the US Navy fifth fleet based in the Middle East has been found dead at his residence in Bahrain, authorities have confirmed.

Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, from Chicago, described as a "decorated naval warrior", was found on Saturday.

No cause of death has been given, but no "foul play" is suspected "at this time", chief of naval operations Admiral John Richardson said.

Image: Vice Admiral Stearney's death is not being treated as suspicious

In a statement, Admiral Richardson said the news was "devastating".

He said: "Scott Stearney was a decorated naval warrior. He was a devoted husband and father, and he was a good friend to all of us.

"The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are co-operating on the investigation."

The fifth fleet's deputy commander, Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, has assumed command.

Its area includes the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

Vice Admiral Stearney became a naval aviator in 1984.

The US Navy's website says he "served in numerous strike fighter squadrons flying the FA-18 Hornet".

In Afghanistan, he served as "chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435 and later Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435".

More from Bahrain

He was "entitled to wear the Defence Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, as well as other commendations and awards".

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

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