Former Congressman John Adler and his wife Shelley were law school classmates of mine.  John passed away yesterday at the age of 51 from complications from a heart infection. 

As reported by the Newark Star Ledger:

Former U.S. Rep. John Adler had a knack for beating the odds.

As a young adult living on Social Security, he scrambled enough money for Harvard through jobs, student loans and scholarships. When he ran for State Senate in 1991, he was the only Democrat to beat an incumbent Republican in either house of the Legislature as the GOP staged a landslide victory. Seventeen years later, he became the first Democrat to represent a conservative South Jersey congressional district in a century.

Adler, a lawmaker respected by both Republicans and Democrats and a longtime chairman of the powerful state Senate Judiciary Committee, died today of complications stemming from a bacterial staph endocarditis infection, his family said.

Adler, who was 51, had fought the infection for three weeks after emergency heart surgery last month.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four sons.

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