The body of the United States’ first ever female Muslim judge was found Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River near Manhattan, according to a Wednesday New York Post report.
Sheila Abdus-Salaam served as an associate judge on the New York Court of Appeals. She was the first African-American woman to serve on New York's top court. She was 65.
She had been reported missing earlier in the day by her husband, the newspaper reports.
Her death is being treated as a suicide, but an investigation is ongoing, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Sources tell the Post that there were no visible signs of trauma or physical injuries suggesting foul play.
Abdus-Salaam worked as an attorney at East Brooklyn Legal Services after graduating from Columbia Law School.
She continued to rise in the ranks until she was elected to the New York Supreme Court in 1993 and then appointed to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) 20 years later, in 2013.
Cuomo said Wednesday that she was "a trailblazing jurist and a force for good."
Jonathan Lippman, who once served as the chief judge of the state Court of Appeals from 2009 to 2015, said Abdus-Salaam’s death is a “terrible blow.”
“I’m deeply saddened at having lost a dear friend and colleague, and the court has suffered a terrible blow,” Lippman told the Post.
“She was a superb jurist and an even more superb human being,” he continued. “I knew her for many, many years. To some degree, we grew up together in the court. I’ve known her in all her different roles in the court. It’s just so shocking. ... If you ask anyone about her, people would say only the most wonderful things. That’s why it makes it even more difficult to understand.”
Updated at 2 p.m. April 13.