Ed Koch, the feisty former Mayor of New York City who served three terms in City Hall, passed away early this morning. He was 88.
Spokesman George Arzt confirmed the sad news and said a funeral will take place Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.
Koch left office in 1990 after helping save the city from fiscal ruin. He was known for his bold, straightforward responses to nearly every question, including why he ended up as a life-long bachelor:
"My answer to questions on this subject is simply, 'F--- off.' There have to be some private matters left."
An outspoken supporter of gay rights and known for his strong Jewish faith, Koch worked as a political pundit; movie/food critic; and even as a judge on The People's Court after he retired.
He also played himself on Saturday Night Live and in films such as The First Wives Club.
But health problems also plagued Koch for many years. He was hospitalized twice in 2012, first for anemia in September and then for a respiratory infection in December. He returned on two occasions last month with fluid buildup in his lungs.
Seven years ago, on his own tombstone, Koch wrote an epitaph that reads:
"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."