Ed Koch, the controversial, colorful former mayor of New York City, has died at 88. The news of his death was confirmed Friday morning, Feb. 1, 2013, by hospital spokesman George Arzt. Koch had been hospitalized since Monday for shortness of breath. He passed away around 2 a.m. Friday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia, according to www.nydailynews.com.
Born Edward Irving Koch in the Bronx on Dec. 12, 1924, Koch is best remembered for his three term stint as mayor of New York City. He was credited for saving the city from financial ruin. Koch also served in Congress from 1969-1977 before winning the mayoral election in 1978.
Koch was well-known for his tough leadership and brash, outspoken nature. He was a champion of gay rights, although he refused to discuss his own sexuality. Koch is quoted as saying “There have to be some private matters left,” when questioned about his sexual preference.
Koch was a staunch supporter of Israel, and the inscription he chose for his headstone includes a Jewish prayer and the epitaph: “He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II.”
A funeral service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, according to www.huffingtonpost.com.