PEKIN — A veteran of the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office died Saturday following surgery at UnityPoint Health-Methodist in Peoria, according to a post on the office's official Facebook page.

Deputy Bradley Eccles, 51, who had worked for the Sheriff's office for 25 years, died of a heart attack Saturday night, wrote Tazewell County Sheriff Jeffrey Lower.

"It is with great sadness that we advise that Tazewell County Sheriff's Office lost one of our department family members. Deputy Bradley Eccles passed away from a cardiac event while recovering from surgery in Methodist hospital," Lower wrote in an announcement posted Sunday.

Eccles' death was sudden, unexpected and unrelated to his work as a deputy sheriff. It occurred while recovering from an unspecified surgery, Lower said.

"Lower is asking the community to keep Eccles’s family and friends in prayers as they mourn their loss," according to the Facebook post.