Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has died of congestive heart failure, according to several reports. He was 88.
Koch had been admitted into intensive care at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Thursday — and had been in and out of the hospital for a few months. For several years, he had battled heart disease, among other health problems. He died at 2 a.m., according to spokesman George Arzt.
The Associated Press reflected back on his outspoken style and political life:
Bald and bombastic, paunchy and pretentious, the city’s 105th mayor was quick with a friendly quip and equally fast with a cutting remark for his political enemies.
“You punch me, I punch back,” Koch once memorably observed. “I do not believe it’s good for one’s self-respect to be a punching bag.”
The mayor dismissed his critics as “wackos,” waged verbal war with developer Donald Trump (“piggy”) and mayoral successor Rudolph Giuliani (“nasty man”), lambasted the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and once reduced the head of the City Council to tears.
After serving in the House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977, Koch served three terms as mayor from 1978 to 1989.
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