Former New Jersey Congressman John Adler died Monday. He was 51.
Adler, a Cherry Hill native, was at the University of Pennsylvania hospital since last month. He underwent heart surgery after contracting staph bacterial endocarditis, an infection in the tissue around the heart. It's believed that he died from complications from the infection.
Adler, a Democrat, represented the traditionally Republican 3rd Congressional District for one term in the U.S. House before being defeated by former Eagles lineman Jon Runyan last November.
In a statement, Runyan said he respected Adler's leadership and commitment. "May John rest in peace, and may those he left behind be comforted in the knowledge that his lifetime of public service to our community has left a lasting legacy for which they can be most proud."
After losing his re-election bid, Adler was working for the Greenberg Traurig law firm.
"We are saddened at the passing of (Adler)," said law firm spokesperson Lourdes Martinez. "We extend our deepest condolences to his family and to his community. John's dedication to public service and the law were truly inspirational. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to call him colleague and friend."
Republicans and fellow Democrats mourned his passing Monday, with GOP Gov. Chris Christie describing Adler as "a fine public servant and a good person."
He was a long-time state senator and had also served as a Cherry Hill councilman.
New Jersey General Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver remembered her former colleague.
“Congressman Adler was a true example of what it means to serve the people,” she said in a statement. “No matter what office he held, the Congressman always advocated fiercely for his constituents and those whose voices otherwise wouldn’t have been heard… His passing is a tragic loss for our state, but his legacy of intelligent and classy leadership will not be forgotten. Every time we breath clean air at a restaurant, for instance, we can thank John Adler.
Adler leaves behind his wife, Shelley, and sons Jeffrey, Alex, Andrew and Oliver.
Adler's family released a statement about his death:
The family wishes to thank the community that has supported them during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to either Cooper University Hospital or the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, whose doctors and staff worked heroically to try and save his life. Final arrangements are pending.
According to Adler's campaign biography, his father died of heart disease at age 47 after a series of heart attacks.
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