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Ed Koch, who was the mayor of New York City for three terms, beginning in 1978, has died. He was 88-years-old.
According to The New York Times, Koch’s spokesman, George Arzt, confirmed that he died early this morning at New York-Presbyterian Columbia Hospital. The cause of death was congenital heart failure.
CNN reports that current mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was quick to praise one of his predecessors. “In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader...We will miss him dearly, but his good works -- and his wit and wisdom -- will forever be a part of the city he loved so much,” he stated, adding that the city lost “an irreplaceable icon.”
Koch was known for his incredible candor and even had a catchphrase, often asking his constituents “How’m I doing?” when he met them.
Koch started his career as a lawyer, then was elected to Congress in 1968. He then ran for mayor in 1977 and won, going on to serve three terms. Even after his time in office, Koch remained a New York icon, making appearances in Sex and the City and Spin City. He was even the judge on The People’s Court for two years and reviewed movies at MayorKoch.com.
Some did criticize his response to the AIDs crisis in the 1980s. When he lost after his third term, he quipped, “voters got tired of me.”
“I think my personality was helpful in this job,” Koch reflected in a 1998 New York magazine interview, notes CNN. “I always had a great sense of humor, though I am also pretty reserved personally. I mean, I don't go to chichi parties; never did. I don't like going to dinners other than small dinners at the homes of people. But I realized that if I was to harness the energies of the people of the city of New York and give them back their pride, I would have to become bigger than life. And I did.”