State Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Gants dies at 65

SAM DORAN/SHNS file photo/Massachusetts Chief Justice Ralph Gants warns against "threatening judges with removal solely because of a mistake or an unpopular decision" in his State of the Judiciary speech in 2018. He died at age 65, the court announced Monday.

BOSTON — Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants has died, the court's associate justices announced Monday afternoon.

Gants, 65, had served as the high court's top judge since July 2014, when he was sworn in to the post by Gov. Deval Patrick. He had announced last Tuesday that he underwent surgery after suffering a heart attack on Sept. 4.

Later in the week, Justice Frank Gaziano said that Gants was following proceedings in a lawsuit around Gov. Charlie Baker's powers during the COVID-19 emergency and planned to participate in the final decision.

The other justices said they were announcing Gants' death "with deep sadness."

"Our hearts and prayers are with his family. We have no further information at this time," the statement said.

Gants, along with Justice Barbara Lenk, are the only justices on the seven-judge SJC bench not appointed by Baker. Lenk plans to retire on Dec. 1.

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