Koch was admitted to the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital on January 19 for having liquid in his lungs and an iron deficiency. He was hospitalized in December with a respiratory infection and earlier in September for anemia. The former Democratic mayor passed away at 2 a.m. Friday morning.
Koch was Mayor of New York City for three terms from 1978 to 1989 and is famously remembered for pulling the city out of bankruptcy. He was also known for frequently asking constituents “How’m I doing?” making it his catchphrase.
On Tuesday, a new documentary about his political career premiered at the Museum of Modern Art, but Koch was unable to attend because of his illness.
“Part of the thing that was most refreshing and most appalling about Koch is that he will stand for what he believes in,” Rev. Al Sharpton said about Koch 2005. “He will not say what you want him to. And he will not be intimidated either way.”
Following his political career he wrote movies, penned books, appeared in television commercials and made movie cameos.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the former mayor said when the time came he would prefer to die “in my sleep, without pain” and if he were to come back as a person, he would like to be “a major political leader here in the U.S.”