PHOENIX — Former Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel has died, according to family.
A statement from a spokesperson said Allister Adel DeNitto died Saturday morning due to health complications.
She was 45 years old.
She is survived by her husband and two children.
"This May we would have celebrated 20 years of marriage. My family and I are utterly heartbroken by this unimaginable loss. We are so very proud to call Allister wife and mom," said her husband, David DeNitto, in a statement. "We are asking that the press and the public honor her, her legacy and our family by respecting our privacy at this difficult time."
A private memorial service is set to take place on May 9, 2022, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
Donations can be made in her memory to Phoenix Rotary 100.
"We were shocked and heartbroken by the sudden passing of Allister Adel," said House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding, in a statement. "She was a deeply committed public servant, as well as a loving wife and mother. On behalf of our caucus and staff, I extend our deepest condolences to her husband, children, friends and loved ones during this difficult time."
"On behalf of the Superior Court in Maricopa County, we are saddened by the by the loss of Allister Adel. Allister was a dedicated public servant and a passionate advocate of the law," said a statement on behalf of Presiding Judge Joseph Welty of the Maricopa County Superior Court. "As the first woman elected as the Maricopa County Attorney, she opened the door for many to follow. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family in this time of mourning."
Various Arizonan public officials reacted to the news of Adel's death on Twitter, including Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Governor Doug Ducey, Sherrif Paul Penzone, former Governor Jan Brewer, County Attorney candidate Rachel Mitchell and Chairman Bill Gates.
I’m shocked and saddened to learn of Allister Adel’s sudden passing. Our thoughts are with her family during this incredibly difficult time — may she rest in peace. https://t.co/Pym8TaV53S— Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) April 30, 2022
How very tragic. The hearts and prayers of Arizonans are with Allister’s family, colleagues and close friends. May she Rest In Peace. https://t.co/bBe49WihPl— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) April 30, 2022
Veronica and I are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Allister Adel. We are holding her children, her family and her friends in our prayers. May she Rest In Peace.— Paul Penzone (@Penzone4sheriff) April 30, 2022
I’m shocked and devastated to learn that my friend, Allister Adel, passed away earlier today. My heart is broken for her husband and two young children that she leaves behind. Please join me in praying for the family as they grieve during this difficult time.— Jan Brewer (@GovBrewer) April 30, 2022
RIP Allister. 💔 pic.twitter.com/TDcbZJ5ZFF
Im heartbroken to learn of Allister’s passing. Her many years of service to our community leaves a legacy that impacted crime victims, first responders and animals, just to name a few. My thoughts & prayers are with her family, friends, & this community that she so dearly loved.— Rachel Mitchell for County Attorney (@Rachel1Mitchell) April 30, 2022
I’m devastated by the passing of my friend, Allister Adel. I will forever cherish the conversations we shared & hope she was able to find peace in her final days. My thoughts & prayers are with her family & all who loved her.— Bill Gates (@billgatesaz) April 30, 2022
Adel was appointed Maricopa County Attorney in 2019 and held the position through March 2022.
Adel replaced Bill Montgomery who was appointed to the State Supreme Court. 13 months later Maricopa County voters chose her to be the first woman elected to the position. "I was big supporter of hers and advocated for her and was so happy she won," said Kathleen Winn.
Kathleen Winn's friendship with Alister Adel began 15 years ago when they were members of the Phoenix Rotary. "We worked together on getting law changed so that we could really try to interrupt and disrupt the flow of sex trafficking," Winn said.
Winn attended Adel's election night victor party. The winner did not. Adel was rushed to the hospital after falling and suffering a brain injury at home.
The injury led to prolonged absences from work. Then the revelation Adel was dealing with substance abuse challenges. At the same time, her office was facing mounting criticism for falsely pursuing gang charges against protestors taking part in anti-police violence demonstrations in Phoenix during the Summer of 2020. And failing to file timely charges in 180 misdemeanor cases. That resulted in the cases being dropped.
"I think she had demons and was fighting them. I think the public fall from grace on top that was just really difficult," Winn said.
Last year, she spent time in a rehabilitation center for alcohol use and mental health issues.
Video in the player above is from 2020 coverage following Adel's hospitalization.