Edward Koch, three-term mayor of New York City and one who many would say was the embodiment of the city itself, passed away Friday at 2 a.m. from congestive heart failure.
Koch was 88.
The former mayor was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital two weeks ago with swollen ankles, an iron deficiency, and fluid in his lungs. Though he was hospitalized previously in September and December, Koch had remained optimistic and resilient.
“Ed Koch was always a fighter, and he is still fighting,” said Koch’s spokesman, George Arzt on Thursday afternoon.
Other politicians were quick to respond to the passing of the charismatic figure that represented all things New York.
"With the passing of Ed Koch, New York has lost one of our most admired public leaders, said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "Ed Koch embodied the highest ideals of public service and his life was dedicated toward making New York - the city and our state - a better place for all.”
He served as mayor from 1978 to 1989, and is credited with reviving New York after the city spiraled into bankruptcy. Koch’s New York was one of enviable prosperity. According to his New York Times obituary, in his first term, he "held down spending, subdued the municipal unions, restored the city’s creditworthiness, revived a moribund capital budget, began work on long-neglected bridges and streets, cut antipoverty programs and tried to reduce the friction between Manhattan and the more tradition-minded other boroughs."
With a reputation for being determined and hardworking, Koch easily won reelection after reelection. Though his third term was marked by racial tensions and a rise in HIV/AIDS and homelessness, Koch remained an icon in New York City politics.
"In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "His spirit will live on not only here at City Hall, and not only on the bridge the bears his name, but all across the five boroughs."