Ed Lee, the mayor of San Francisco, died suddenly on the morning of December 12, 2017 at a local hospital. The mayor was only 65-years-old.
What was his cause of death? How did Ed Lee die? According to the Huffington Post, although his official cause of death had not yet been released, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown told the media that Ed Lee died from cardiac arrest. According to The San Francisco Examiner, Lee suffered a heart attack while grocery shopping. “Former Mayor Willie Brown said Lee was shopping at his neighborhood Safeway at 625 Monterey Blvd. when he suffered a heart attack,” The San Francisco Examiner reported.
KQED-TV reported the same, adding the detail that the mayor’s wife was with him when the affliction occurred. “An official cause of death was not immediately announced, but a high-ranking city official told KQED Lee suffered a heart attack at a grocery store Monday night. An employee at the Safeway on Monterey Avenue said the mayor collapsed as he was shopping with his wife,” the station reported.
His death was surprising because he was not known to be ill, according to NPR.
City officials released a statement confirming that Lee, a married father of two, had died. “It is with profound sadness and terrible grief that we confirm that Mayor Edwin M. Lee passed away on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:11 a.m. at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital,” city officials said in the statement. “Family, friends and colleagues were at his side. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his family.”
The President of the Board of Supervisors, London Breed, now becomes mayor of San Francisco. Ed Lee died at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, according to Fox News. “Appointed mayor by the Board of Supervisors in 2011 to replace Mayor Gavin Newsom, Lee won reelection in 2015,” reported Fox, noting that Ed Lee was “known as a major supporter of San Francisco’s controversial ‘sanctuary city’ policy, which became a major news and political story in particular during the last two years of Lee’s tenure after the death of Kate Steinle at the hands of a five-time deportee.”
Lee’s mayoral term would have expired in 2020. “Edwin Lee entered city government after a career as a tenants rights lawyer, working to preserve low-cost housing in the 1980s and to tackle civil rights issues. He served as San Francisco’s mayor after being appointed to the post in 2011, when he replaced the outgoing Gavin Newsom, who became lieutenant governor,” NPR reported.
The new acting mayor, London Breed, offered condolences to Lee’s family members in a news conference. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his daughters Tania and Brianna, and his entire family,” Breed said, according to The San Francisco Examiner.
Lee was born in Seattle, Washington to Chinese immigrants. According to KQED, Lee led “the city out of the recession and into an economic boom marked by a deep housing crisis.” He was the 43rd mayor of San Francisco.