Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died early Friday at the age of 88, The Associated Press reports.
A spokesman for Koch told the AP that the former mayor died at 2 a.m. and that his funeral will be held on Monday.
Elected to run the nation’s largest city in 1977, Koch served as mayor at a time when New York was struggling to rebuild its finances and was dealing with the problems of urban decay.
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“I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers,” he said upon taking office. “I say exactly what I think. I’m the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.”
A Democrat, Koch supported former President George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004 and also supported New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) when he was a Republican.
Bloomberg praised Koch as “an irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion,” The New York Times reported.
According to the Times, Koch’s health problems forced him to miss the premiere of a documentary film about his life, which opens across the country on Friday.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who rose to prominence as a civil-rights activist in New York, said in a statement that Koch was “never a phony or a hypocrite,” the AP said.
"He would not patronize or deceive you. He said what he meant. He meant what he said. He fought for what he believed.”