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Cuyahoga County Judge Joseph D. Russo dies at 59

His passing comes just four days after the loss of one of his colleagues, Judge Nancy McDonnell.

CLEVELAND — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from a previous story.

The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas confirms Judge Joseph D. Russo, who served on the bench for two decades, has died at the age of 59.

Officials said Russo passed away "unexpectedly" Saturday night. A cause of death was not immediately available.

"Joe Russo has been my colleague on the Bench for 12 years, and his loss will be felt by the legal community and the citizens of Cuyahoga County," Administrative and Presiding Judge Brendan J. Sheehan said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Judge Russo's family and friends."

A graduate of both St. Joseph High School and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Russo later went to Case's School of Law and passed his bar exams in 1991. He subsequently founded his own law firm a year later before eventually being elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2001.

Russo's death came just four days after the passing of one of his colleagues, Judge Nancy McDonnell. Sheehan went on to say the court's grief "is doubled at this time."

Gov. Mike DeWine will eventually appoint a replacement to serve out the remainder of Russo's term through 2024. Until that happens, the Ohio Supreme Court will select a temporary replacement.

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