A high-ranking NYPD officer took his own life on Wednesday, just a few weeks before he was set to face mandatory retirement because of his age.

Deputy Chief Steven Silks, executive officer of the Patrol Borough Queens North, was found dead inside his unmarked patrol car of a self-inflicted gun shot wound on Wednesday evening. He was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, but could not be saved.

According to reports, the 62-year-old police chief had submitted his retirement papers one day earlier, after 39 years on the job. The NYPD’s mandatory retirement age is 63.

Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD sergeant and current professor at John Jay, told Gothamist that he worked under Silks in the Bronx more than two decades ago. "He always had a smile on his face," Giacalone said. "He was a good boss. He knew his police work. He was one of the real last gentleman left in the police department."

Other friends of Silks say that he seemed sad of late because of his forced retirement. He was not married, and most of his family lives out of state. One source told the Daily News that he would've served until he died of natural causes.

"We don't know if that's the sole reason—there may have been other things going on his life," noted Giacalone. "There's got to be a long investigation into why this happened."

Mayor Bill de Blasio offered his condolences on Thursday, tweeting that Silks was the "backbone of [Queens North] and devoted to his calling." New York Attorney General Tish James said the untimely loss was "heartbreaking."

Police departments across the country have higher suicide rates than civilians, and one study indicates an increase among officers with more than 15 years of experience. After three NYPD officers took their own lives in a two month span last year, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill recorded a YouTube video highlighting the resources available for officers struggling with depression.

"Before you can take care of anyone else, you must first take care of yourself, so please, remember, if you need it, help is here, and help is available," O'Neill said.

A spokesperson for the NYPD did not immediately respond to Gothamist's inquiries.

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.