Former state Sen. Brian Joyce, who was charged by federal prosecutors in 2017 with running his State House office as a "criminal enterprise," was found dead by his wife on Thursday in their Westport home, according to authorities.
Joyce, 56, who spent almost two decades on Beacon Hill as a state representative and senator, was awaiting trial after leaving the Senate in 2016 while under federal investigation for corruption.
Joyce represented parts of Dorchester and Mattapan for several years in the state Senate before redistricting pushed his seat further south.
A spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney Tom Quinn said Joyce's wife found him deceased on Thursday and that the Medical Examiner's office had taken custody of the body to perform an autopsy and toxicology report to determine cause of death. Investigators do not believe that foul play was involved.
Joyce's death was first reported Thursday afternoon by WCVB. According to the district attorney's office, Westport police said that Joyce had been involved in a car crash the night before on Wednesday.
"That will be part of the overall investigation," said Gregg Miliote, the spokesman for District Attorney Quinn.
A Westport police dispatcher referred questions to the department's pubic information officer, who did not answer the phone late Thursday afternoon.
Senate President Karen Spilka shared her condolences on Twitter.
"I've just learned of the sudden death of former Senator Brian Joyce. As authorities handle the appropriate investigations, my thoughts are with his family," Spilka Tweeted.
Joyce's attorney Howard Cooper responded to an email from the News Service to say that he had no comment.
"The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time," he said.
Joyce represented Milton and parts of the South Shore during his time in the Senate, and moved to Westport after leaving the Legislature and giving up his law firm while he fought charges that he had accepted bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his "official action" in the Senate and putting pressure on state and local officials.
Facing 113 counts including racketeering, extortion, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion, Joyce pleaded not guilty. His attorney last met in court with prosecutors on Sept. 17 to discuss the status of the case, and were due for another court hearing on Nov. 20 in Boston.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling released a statement: "We extend our condolences to Mr. Joyce's family and friends as they grieve his passing; we will not have any further comment during this difficult time."