U.S. District Judge Eugene P. Spellman, an 11-year veteran of the bench who was known for innovative sentences and supporting social causes, died Saturday at age 60.

Spellman, who had cancer, was absent from the bench only a week before his death.Spellman crafted a novel sentence that withstood a challenge in the tax-evasion case of millionaire industrialist Victor Posner, who was ordered to give $3 million to the homeless and serve meals in a shelter.

"He was a judge who was known for his fairness to all litigants, and he will be especially missed because of his efforts in behalf of the homeless," said U.S. District Judge Edward Davis, who visited Spellman at Mercy Hospital hours before his death.