U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died on Saturday in West Texas, ET has confirmed. He was 79.
Scalia reportedly died of natural causes while staying at the Cibolo Creek Ranch resort near the town of Marfa. He attended a party on Friday and was found dead in his room the next morning by a person associated with the ranch, who went to go check on Scalia after he didn't attend breakfast, according to mySA.com. Diocese of El Paso spokeswoman Liz O'Hara also confirmed to ET that a priest was called to the ranch where Justice Scalia and administered his last rights.
"On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away," Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. told ET in a statement. "He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family."
Scalia, who was nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Regan, was the first Italian-American and longest-serving current justice on the Supreme Court.
In wake of Scalia's death, President Barack Obama could appoint a new Supreme Court Justice, but his appointee must be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.