Veteran Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown) worked alongside Joe Azzolina in the legislature.
Azzolina died last night after battling cancer.
“I am saddened that my friend and legislative partner Joe Azzolina has passed away,” Kyrillos said in a statement. “He loved New Jersey and America, and from an early age and throughout a long life dedicated his energy and spirit to serving the people of this state and nation.
“I first learned about Joe when I was in the fourth grade and he was in the State Senate. Little did I know that I would go on to work in his supermarket as a teenager and to serve side by side with him in the Legislature.
“We represented the same district together for 14 years. He helped teach me and many others the value of hard work.
“Business man, military officer, legislator, father, and leading citizen, Joe Azzolina lived a remarkable life and led by deed and example.
“Joe will be missed by all who knew and respected him, and Susan and my prayers are with his family.”