Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died
on Friday. He was 88.
George Arzt, a spokesman for Koch, said
he died at 2AM at New York-Presbyterian hospital. A funeral will be
held on Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.
Koch, a Democrat, ran New York City for
12 years, during which time he saved the city from near-financial
After leaving City Hall in 1990, Koch
battled assorted health problems.
Opinionated and bombastic, Koch was
equally loved and loathed.
“You punch me, I punch back,” he
once said. “I do not believe it's good for one's self-respect to
be a punching bag.”
A lifelong bachelor, Koch championed
gay rights, but refused to discuss his sexual orientation.
“My answer to questions on this
subject is simply, 'fuck off.' There have to be some private matters
left,” he once said.
In speaking to The New York Times,
he explained: “I do not want to add to the acceptability of asking
every candidate, 'Are you straight or gay or lesbian?' and make it a
legitimate question, so I don't submit to that question. I don't
care if people think I'm gay because I don't answer it. I'm
flattered that at 84 people are interested in my sex life – and,
it's quite limited.”
He also became the target of AIDS
activists, who argued that the mayor was slow in his response to the
epidemic out of fear of being outed.