SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi has died.

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The 59-year-old people’s advocate was involved in many of the city’s biggest criminal cases, often involving police misconduct.

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Sources told KPIX that Adachi died of a heart attack on Friday night.

Adachi was elected public defender in 2002. It’s estimated that his office represents more than 20,000 people every year.

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Mayor London Breed’s office issued the following statement:

“I am saddened to announce that San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi passed away tonight. My heart goes out to his wife, Matsuko, his daughter, Lauren, and all his friends and family.

As one of the few elected public defenders in our country, Jeff always stood up for those who didn’t have a voice, have been ignored and overlooked, and who needed a real champion. He was committed not only to the fight for justice in the courtroom, but he was also a relentless advocate for criminal justice reform. Jeff lead [sic] the way on progressive policy reforms, including reducing recidivism, ending cash bail, and standing up for undocumented and unrepresented children.

San Francisco has lost a dedicated public servant, and our communities have lost a champion.”