BOSTON, MA – JUNE 26: Chief Justice Ralph Gants questions attorney Michael Keating as he argues that his client, Judge Shelley Joseph, should have her pay reinstated during a hearing before the Supreme Judicial Court on June 26, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
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BOSTON –  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.

This is a developing story.