52-year-old Illinois judge dies a few weeks into new job - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

52-year-old Illinois judge dies a few weeks into new job

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A 52-year-old Illinois appellate judge has died unexpectedly just weeks into his new job on the bench.

The Sangamon County coroner's office says John Schmidt was pronounced dead at a Springfield hospital early Tuesday. It said the death was presumed to be from natural causes.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced two months ago that Schmidt would replace a retiring justice on the 4th District Appellate Court, effective Dec. 7. He was Sangamon County state's attorney from 1999 to 2010.

Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman said she was "shocked and deeply saddened." She called Schmidt "a distinguished judge and a friend ... who will be sorely missed."

He is survived by his wife and school-aged son. To honor Schmidt, flags outside the Sangamon County Complex were lowered to half-staff.

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