A longtime state Department of Children and Family Services employee died suddenly of natural causes in his office Wednesday morning at the Cook County Juvenile Center on the Near West Side.

Lorne Garrett, 51, was found unresponsive in the administrative building at 8:30 a.m., according to the Cook County sheriff’s and medical examiner’s offices.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived and performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but he was pronounced dead at 8:50 a.m., authorities said. Garrett lived in the 22800 block of Greenfield Boulevard in Richton Park.

On behalf of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services it is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Lorne Garrett, administrator of court services at Juvenile Court,” a DCFS statement said.

“Lorne served the families and children of Illinois for more than 25 years in various capacities, including regional administrator and administrator of the Run Unit. His passing is a deep loss for many in the DCFS family. Our hearts and condolences are with Lorne’s family, his many friends and his colleagues during this difficult time.” 

“Social work is a calling and demands that you give your heart to the job,” DCFS Director George Sheldon said in the statement. “Lorne did just that and he did it with a smile, humility and grace.”

“Throughout his career, he has been a champion for those who could not protect themselves. He will be missed by all,” Sheldon said.

“Lorne Garrett was an exceptional man and advocate for children,” said Sophia Ansari, spokeswoman for the Cook County sheriff’s office. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, colleagues and all the children he helped throughout his career.”

An autopsy Thursday found he died of diabetic ketoacidosis and cardiovascular disease. His death was due to natural causes, according to the medical examiner’s office.