He also was a fourth cousin of Leland Beloff, the Democratic powerbroker and former councilman who was convicted in 1987 of trying to shake down developer Willard G. Rouse 3d.
The judge had worked as a trial litigator, certified mediator, and arbitrator, with practices in Philadelphia and New Jersey, representing clients in state and federal courts.
Common Pleas Court President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe said Sunday that she had not received official word about Beloff's death.
The judge, she said, was "absolutely a lovely person. He was hardworking, enjoyed his work, and went out of his way to learn as much as he could as soon as he could," she said.
Dembe said she had no hint that he was troubled.
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who is chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, said he heard that Beloff had hung himself.
Beloff "always wanted to be a judge - that was his golden ring - he got it and he appeared to be as happy as could be," Brady said.
Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner said: "I'm really sad. . . . I don't know of anything that was going on in his life that would even suggest something like this. Whenever I saw him in the building, he was someone who really liked being a judge, and seemed very upbeat."
Contact Dan Hardy at 856-779-3858 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @DanInq.
Inquirer staff writer Jonathan Lai contributed to this article.