Judge Willie Lipscomb, Jr., who served in Michigan's 36th District Court, has died.
He was found dead Wednesday in his Detroit home.
Lipscomb served as a judge for the past 14 years. He retired in 2012.
The cause of death is not yet known.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said Lipscomb is the "sole reason" she joined the Prosecutor's Office nearly 30 years ago.
"I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Judge Lipscomb this morning. I met him when I was a law student at the University of Notre Dame," Worthy wrote in a statement released Thursday. "He is the sole reason that I joined the Prosecutor's Office in 1984, and he helped guide my entire career. He was a mentor to several decades of Notre Dame African American law students and had a profound impact on many lawyers. He had a passion for the law, he was committed to the community and was generous with his time and wisdom. The legal community will miss him, and I will miss him terribly."