When you remove a user all their tickets will remain in Jira. No need to worry about losing data when removing/ deactivating users.
You can "disuser" accounts with a flag in the user's profile in site management, or just remove them from the group(s) that let them use the application (if, for example, a user has access to Jira because they are in the group "Jira-software-users", then removing them from the group removes their access, and reduces the licenced user count)
Neither of those will affect the data on your issues. But the user will no longer be selectable when changing fields like assignee.
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