22:21 GMT +321 September 2019
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    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sits in the audience at a National Italian American Foundation event in Washington, in this file photo taken October 20, 2006.

    US Supreme Court Justice Scalia Dead at 79

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    US Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia has died aged 79 after a hunting trip in the southern US state of Texas, local media reported Saturday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – A source close to Scalia told the KVIA affiliate of ABC News that the senior associate judge died in his sleep late Friday after a day of quail hunting at a ranch outside the western city of Marfa.

    Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts confirmed on Saturday the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

    “On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away,” Roberts said in a statement.

    Scalia was an “extraordinary individualist and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” the chief justice noted.

    “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served,” Roberts said.

    US President Barack Obama, who extended his condolences to Scalia’s family minutes earlier, is due to nominate a replacement candidate for the US Senate to debate and confirm.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in extending condolences on Scalia’s death, named him a "legal giant who steered the Supreme Court onto the Constitution."

    Scalia was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and was the longest serving justice to date.

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