TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Taylorsville Judge Michael Kwan passed away unexpectedly Tuesday morning.
"The Kwan family is deeply saddened by the terrible and shocking news that Michael, our son, brother, father, husband, uncle, cousin, friend and dog grandfather has passed away and left us far too soon," a family spokesperson said Tuesday in a statement. "We are grateful for the support offered by so many and ask that you give our family some time as we sort through details surrounding his sudden passing."
A statement from the City of Taylorsville said Kwan passed away at home, of natural causes, with his wife by his side.
Kwan presided over the Taylorsville Justice Court since 1998. He started one of the first DUI and drug courts in the nation, which received the governor's award for reducing drug and alcohol abuse-related crimes in 2008. His Domestic Violence Program was also awarded the Peace on Earth Award from the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Advisory Council in 2002.
He was most recently in the spotlight in May 2019 when he was suspended for six months because of anti-Trump comments made both in the courtroom and on social media.
"We will sincerely miss Judge Kwan and all that he brought to the court,” Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson said. “He cared profoundly about our community and strived to make it better. But most importantly, he prized justice. He was intensely focused on providing equal protection under the law for all who entered his courtroom. He was compassionate and often extended a second chance for many. Above all, his model was fairness and he eschewed bigotry and racism with every essence of his being.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes reacted to Kwan's passing with a statement on Twitter.
"He was a beloved leader for the Asian Pacific American Community," Reyes said. "I will miss him greatly."