Associate Justice Antonin Scalia during the group portrait of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, Friday, Oct. 8, 2010.

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, an outspoken conservative known for his missionary zeal and keen intellect, was remembered Saturday as an “extraordinary individual and jurist.”

“His passing is a great loss to the court and the country he so loyally served,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Maureen, and his family.”

Justice Scalia, 79, was found dead Saturday morning at Cibolo Creek Ranch near Marfa, the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington confirmed. Spokeswoman Donna Sellers said Scalia retired Friday evening. He was found dead in his room by resort staff after he did not appear for breakfast.

After his appointment in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, Justice Scalia worked to pull the court closer to the right. He voted consistently to let states outlaw abortions, allow a closer relationship between government and religion, permit executions and limit lawsuits.

He was also a champion of originalism, the method of constitutional interpretation that looks to the meaning of words and concepts as they were understood by the Founding Fathers.

Antonin Gregory Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey on March 11, 1936, the only child of Salvatore Eugene Scalia and Catherine Panaro Scalia.

In 1957, Scalia graduated valedictorian from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in history. In 1960, Scalia graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law.