Retired Arizona Supreme Court justice dies

PHOENIX - Retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael Ryan has died. He was 66.

Court officials say Ryan died Monday. The Arizona Republic says he suffered an apparent heart attack.

He spent more than 24 years on the bench in Arizona courts by the time he retired in August 2010.

Ryan started as a deputy Maricopa County attorney in 1978.

He was appointed to Maricopa County Superior Court in 1986 and presided over the felony trial of former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham in 1988 and the "AzScam" public corruption cases in the early 1990s.

In 1996, Ryan went up to the Arizona Court of Appeals and was appointed him to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2002.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said  "I'm saddened by today's sudden passing of Michael Ryan, a former member of the Arizona Supreme Court and one of our state's most respected jurists. Justice Ryan embodied public service. Whether fighting for his country in Vietnam or devoting himself to the Law as a prosecutor or judge, Justice Ryan always did what he thought was right. This is a loss for all of Arizona. The generation of legal professionals and public servants who knew and respected Justice Ryan stand as testament to his noble contribution to Arizona. You can count me among them."

Ryan is survived by his wife, Karen, three sons and two grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

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