NEW YORK (MorichesDaily) — Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has died of heart failure. He was 88.
Spokesman George Arzt said Koch died early Friday of congestive heart failure, according to The Associated Press.
Only four people have ever been elected mayor of the city of New York three times: Fiorello LaGuardia, Robert Wagner, Michael Bloomberg and Edward Irving Koch — a man whose personality was as large and as lively as the city he governed.
“He was a persona, kind of a lively, grumpy, friendly cheery gutsy New Yorker,” said former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. “He was an absolute quintessential New Yorker.”
Ed Koch became mayor of New York in 1978 by beating Cuomo in the democratic primary. Cuomo returned the favor by beating Koch in the democratic gubernatorial primary five years later.
Despite their political rivalry, Cuomo, like most New Yorkers, found it hard not to be drawn in by Koch’s utter irrepressibility.
“Hi. How’m I doin?” is the trademark phrase he made famous. This life-long bachelor and former congressman dedicated his 12 years in office to the city he loved — bragging to reporters he was in the news 365 days a year.
“What a great city. Very few like it. In fact, there’s none,” said Koch in 1978.
“It was a mission for him to the people of New York,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Koch’s rabbi and friend.
Ed Koch was readmitted to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital on Monday with shortness of breath. He had been released two days earlier after being treated for water in his lungs and legs. He had initially been admitted on January 19.
His latest hospitalization followed two other ones in recent months.
In December, he was admitted with a respiratory infection. The former mayor was also hospitalized in September after feeling weak while staying with friends in North Carolina. He was treated for anemia, was released after three days and said he planned to head straight to his office at a law firm.
The funeral will be Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.
Koch didn’t just represent New York City, many say he was New York City.