Former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald passed away Sunday at 74. His 34-year judicial career included a decade on the state's highest court.

“This is both a personal and a professional loss,” said Chief Justice Rita Garman, calling him “a man who was committed to justice, committed to doing the work of the people; the epitome of a wonderful public servant.”

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Fitzgerald may be best remembered in Illinois for presiding over the impeachment trial of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but to Garman, he made his mark of integrity when he stepped down from the bench five years ago, immediately upon confirmation of his diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, lest anybody suspect he was giving the people of Illinois any less than his best.

Another colleague, Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, calls Fitzgerald “a judge's judge.”


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