Former U.S. Rep. John Adler has died

Former U.S. Rep. John Adler has died.

The cause of death is not yet known, but the 51-year old Mr. Adler underwent emergency open heart surgery late last month after contracting staph bacterial endocarditis.

Mr. Adler represented the 3rd District for one term before losing the seat to Republican Jon Runyan in November.

“Congressman Adler was a fine public servant and a good person,” said Gov. Chris Christie. ” His untimely death is an awful shock.  Mary Pat and I will be praying for his wife Shelley and their four sons during this sad and tragic time.”

“We lost a great person today,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford.

“Congressman Adler was a true example of what it means to serve the people,” said Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) in a statement. “No matter what office he held, the Congressman always advocated fiercely for his constituents and those whose voices otherwise wouldn’t have been heard. He was always at the forefront of the key issues of the day, whether it be ethics, education, a clean environment, public health or property tax reform.

“His passing is a tragic loss for our state, but his legacy of intelligent and classy leadership will not be forgotten. Every time we breath clean air at a restaurant, for instance, we can thank John Adler. On behalf of the New Jersey General Assembly, I offer my prayers and condolences to Congressman Adler’s family and friends at their time of grief.”

A veteran of the state Senate, Mr. Adler ran for the 3rd Congressional District seat in 2008 following the retirement of Jim Saxton. A Democrat, Mr. Adler ran in a highly competitive general election in a district that had Republican representation going back to the 19th Century. 

Mr. Adler defeated Chris Myers and two years later, lost his re-election bid to U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan.

News of Mr. Adler’s death today caused state Sen. Paul Sarlo, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, to pause respectfully to honor a former colleague.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. issued the following statement mourning the passing of John Adler: “I want to extend my deepest condolences to John’s wife, Shelley, their four boys, and the entire Adler family. John was smart, passionate, energetic, and dedicated throughout his long career in public service. He was a friend to all of us in the Senate and a living reminder that it is possible to disagree with one another without being disagreeable. New Jersey is a better place having been served by John Adler. He will be missed.”

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato