The death of Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to serve on the New York Court of Appeals, has shocked her family, friends and colleagues, who praised her integrity and commitment to being, as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, "a thoughtful, thorough, and fair jurist."

Abdus-Salaam's fully-clothed body was found in the Hudson River near West 132nd Street on Wednesday afternoon. The NYC Medical Examiner has not yet determined the cause of death and will continue to investigate, and Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said,"There are no apparent injuries to her body. It appears to be non-criminal ... There is no apparent trauma. No physical abnormality at all."

A police source tells the Daily News that Abdus-Salaam has apparently suffered from depression and it was believed the 65-year-old killed herself. According to the NY Times:

The last time someone heard from Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam apparently was on Tuesday when she called her chambers in the Graybar Building in Manhattan to say she wasn’t well and would not be coming in. At some point, she had left her apartment in Harlem, law enforcement officials said, departing without her wallet and cellphone, and locking the door behind her.

When Judge Abdus-Salaam — the first black woman to serve on New York State’s highest court — failed to appear at work on Wednesday, her assistant grew concerned and contacted her husband, who reported her missing, the law enforcement officials said.

Investigators are now looking at surveillance footage to see if they can track her movements.

Many friends expressed disbelief that Abdus-Salaam could have committed suicide. Gennaro Savastano, President of the LGBTQ Bar Association of Greater New York, told the Post, "If it was anything having to do with suicide, I just wouldn’t believe it. There’s no indication of that ever."

However, another friend, Dr. Marilyn Mobley, told the Times that "Judge Abdus-Salaam had a heavy caseload and was in demand as a speaker and may have had trouble handling the pressure." She said, "What she shared with me is she had been under a lot of stress recently and that she was having trouble sleeping. The truth is she was accomplished, resilient and strong, and she had a breaking point like everyone else. I fear it got there."

She also reportedly told her doctor that she was "stressed with the demands of work."

Abdus-Salaam was born in Washington D.C., attending public schools there before graduating from Barnard College and later Columbia Law School. After working as a staff attorney at East Brooklyn Legal Services, she was an assistant attorney general in the NY State Department of Law and was General Counsel for the New York City Office of Labor Services. In 1991, she was elected to serve as a New York State Civil Court Judge and was elected to be a Supreme Court Judge in 1993.

Governor David Paterson appointed her as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division in 2009, and, in 2013, she was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the Court of Appeals. When she was confirmed, Abdus-Salaam became the first African-American woman to serve on New York's highest court. From the New York Law Journal:

Despite that short tenure, she authored major decisions that redefined "parenthood" as including the one-time partners of the same-sex biological parents of children and that declared skin tone—not just race —should be recognized as a basis for the discriminatory treatment of jurors in New York courts.

"She was really admired," Albany Law School Professor Vin Bonventre said. "We have not had a finer judge on the Court of Appeals since—maybe we've never had a finer judge on the court. And she was as fine a human being as well as a judge as you could get."

The Times noted that Abdus-Salaam researched her family history and found out her great-grandfather had been a slave, "All the way from Arrington, Va., where my family was the property of someone else, to my sitting on the highest court of the State of New York is amazing and huge. It tells you and me what it is to know who we are and what we can do."

Mayor Bill de Blasio called her death a "shock to all of us - highly, highly respected jurist, a trailblazer, someone who, by all accounts, you know, came from humbling dynamics, but turned into someone of great capacity, great impact - always kept her feet on the ground, always remembered where she came from. And it’s just very, very sad. It’s someone who for so many people in the State, for so many young people had been a role model - someone who made history in the State in such a powerful way and is lost to us so suddenly."

He added, "We obviously are still waiting for the full investigation. But to the extent that the challenges and stresses in her life contributed to this, it’s a reminder that even the most accomplished people still deal with extraordinary challenges inwardly, and we don’t get to see that, and it is humbling."

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.