CHICAGO – The president of the Chicago Board of Education shot himself in the head along the Chicago River Monday morning, the medical examiner's office confirmed, according to MyFoxChicago.com.
Police found what was believed to be the body of Michael Scott, 60, floating in the river hours later.
Scott's family released a statement thanking Chicagoans for their outpouring of support during a time of "unimaginable grief."
"Our personal loss is also shared by many throughout Chicago, the home he loved so much," his family said. "We will miss him greatly. Arrangements for a public memorial service will be announced shortly."
Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that Scott had a gunshot wound to his left temple and police discovered a .380-caliber gun underneath his body, which was found 30 feet from his blue Cadillac.
"I am shocked and saddened by the sudden death of my friend and colleague Michael Scott," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.
"Michael cared passionately about public education and made many courageous decisions as president of the Board. He gave his time, energy and talents to improving the life chances of children. Chicago has lost a great leader, and the city’s school children have lost a devoted champion. I extend my deepest condolences to his wife and family."
Scott had been Mayor Daley's go-to guy for a long time. Over the summer he told the Chicago Sun-Times that he had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating how students were selected for the system's elite selective-enrollment high schools, MyFoxChicago.com reported.
Scott said he had done nothing wrong, the Web site reported.
Chicago residents grew angry when Daley appointed Scott to serve a second stint as school board president. Scott had recommended that sports agent Rufus Williams succeed him, but Williams resigned under pressure and Daley re-appointed Scott to head the school board and oversee the city's public schools — a top Daley priority, MyFoxChicago.com reported.
"My wife and I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Scott," Cook County Board President Todd H. Stroger said in an e-mail statement released Monday.
Stroger called his friend of nearly 25 years a negotiator held in high esteem, MyFoxChicago.com reported.
"Mr. Scott was a strong advocate for education," Stroger said in the e-mail. "His contributions to the minority communities of Cook County will be sorely missed. In particular, his love for the upward mobility of residents from Chicago's West Side where he spent his life."
The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived on the scene at about 7:30 a.m. local time Monday morning.
"Everything is just so wrong," Jackson said, according to MyFoxChicago.com.
Jackson said he spoke to Scott last week, as the former Chicago Public School Board president continued to deal with the brutal death of a Chicago student.
Jackson said Scott did not display any signs of emotional trouble recently, MyFoxChicago.com reported.
Scott reportedly disappeared from his Chicago home Sunday.
Emergency responders pulled the body out of the river at 4:30 a.m. local time Monday, after receiving a tip, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Joe Roccasalva told MyFoxChicago.com.
Chicago Public Schools could not be reached for comment, MyFoxChicago.com reported.