Edward Koch, three-time New York mayor, dead at 88


Ed Koch on his 85th birthday on November 18, 2009. The former NYC mayor died on Feb. 1, 2013, at the age of 88.


Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Bryan Cave LLP

Edward "Ed" Koch, one of New York City's longest-serving and most colorful mayors, has died at the age of 88.

Koch passed away from congestive heart failure in a Manhattan hospital early Friday morning, his spokesman said.

He had been in and out of hospital in recent months with heart disease and other health problems, according to the Associated Press.

Born in the Bronx in 1924, Koch went on become mayor of New York three times between 1978 and 1989.

It was "an era of almost continuous discord," the New York Times said, spanning the financial crisis and crime of the late 1970s to the prosperity and corruption scandals of the 1980s.

Koch is credited with bringing his city back from the brink of bankruptcy, but was ultimately "overwhelmed by corruption scandals in his administration and by racial divisions that his critics contended he sometimes made worse," the Times wrote.

New York's current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, paid tribute to "a great mayor, a great man, and a great friend":

Koch will be buried at the Temple Emanu-El Jewish cemetery in Manhattan on Monday.

A new documentary about his time in office, 'Koch,' premiered in New York this week. In one of his final interviews, Koch told the Wall Street Journal that he liked the "warts and all" biography, even if it showed some of his failings.

"When I left office in ’89, I said for me the most important part of life is being relevant, that people are interested in what you have to say, give credibility and credence to your philosophy and so forth," Koch said.

"And I think I've done it… I'm now out of office 22 years, but people remember me."