Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88.
Mr. Koch’s spokesman, George Arzt, said the former mayor died at 2 a.m. from congestive heart failure. He was being treated at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital.
Statement from the President on the Passing of Ed Koch
Ed Koch was an extraordinary Mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker. He took office at a time when New York was in fiscal crisis, and helped his city achieve economic renewal, expand affordable housing, and extend opportunity to more of its people. In public office and beyond, his energy, force of personality, and commitment to causes ranging from civic issues to the security of the state of Israel always informed and enlivened the public discourse. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Ed’s loved ones, and to the city that survives him.
Koch wrote about “what’s on my tombstone, and why” in 2011:
On my tombstone, which awaits me at the Trinity Church nondenominational cemetery at 155th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, I had inscribed the last words of Daniel Pearl — uttered at his publicly viewed murder — which were, “My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish.” I believe those words should be part of the annual services on the Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur, and should be repeated by the congregants.
More at Poynter, including an excerpt of a 2008 interview with Koch about the grave marker.
Koch died on the eleventh anniversary of Daniel Pearl’s murder.