SJC Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants has died

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Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants has died, just days after court officials reported he planned to partially resume his duties as the leader of the state's court system following a heart attack that led to his hospitalization on Sept. 4.
Justice Barbara A. Lenk, one of Gants's colleagues, said in a brief phone interview that "our grief is immense."

"It is with deep sadness that the Associate Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court announce the death of Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants. Our hearts and prayers are with his family. We have no further information at this time," the court said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants has died, just days after court officials reported that he planned to partially resume his duties following a heart attack that led to his hospitalization on Sept. 4, court officials said. He was 65.

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"I can't believe he's gone," Lenk said, describing Gants as a "mensch of mensches" who always looked out for "the little guy" and was "just always sensitive to the people who have the least."

Gants, Lenk said, was "just brilliant. Brilliant in every respect, and a wonderful man. A wonderful human being, and humble. ... He just treated everyone with respect and dignity" and "had an unerring sense of justice."

Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement, "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Chief Justice Ralph Gants. He was a dedicated public servant of the highest order and sought to do justice his entire 40-year legal career. He led the Supreme Judicial Court with intelligence, integrity and distinction."

"In his decisions and in his role as the leader of the Commonwealth's judicial branch, he always worked to promote the public good. His legacy as a judge and as Chief Justice is profound, and he will be sorely missed. I send my condolences to his colleagues, his friends, and his family," Baker said.

Gants disclosed last week that he had suffered a heart attack on Sept. 4, and had undergone surgery to insert two stents. He said at that time that he expected to be discharged soon and that he would "resume full duties, albeit initially on a limited basis."

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