Friday, February 1, 2013
Ed Koch dead at 88
Koch died at 2 a.m., spokesman George Arzt said. The funeral will be Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.
After leaving City Hall in January 1990, Koch battled assorted health problems and heart disease.
The larger-than-life Koch, who breezed through the streets of New York flashing his signature thumbs-up sign, won a national reputation with his feisty style. "How'm I doing?" was his trademark question to constituents, although the answer mattered little to Koch. The mayor always thought he was doing wonderfully.
He was also an outspoken supporter of Israel, willing to criticize anyone, including President Barack Obama, over decisions Koch thought could indicate any wavering of support for that nation.
Koch was a champion of gay rights, taking on the Roman Catholic Church and scores of political leaders.
A lifelong bachelor, Koch offered a typically blunt response to questions about his own sexuality: "My answer to questions on this subject is simply, `F--- off.' There have to be some private matters left."
"I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone," Koch told The Associated Press. "This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me."
"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." (Much more of his story)