Ed Koch, the former New York City mayor who typically greeted constituents with a "How'm I doin'?" died Friday at the age of 88, his spokesman said.
Koch died of congestive heart failure, spokesman George Arzt said. The former mayor felt very tired Thursday morning and was admitted to the intensive care unit, Artz said. Koch lost consciousness that afternoon and ultimately passed away around 2 a.m. Friday.
Mr. Koch had experienced coronary and other medical problems since leaving office in 1989. But he had been in relatively good health.
Only his bouts of illness slowed Mr. Koch down, most recently forcing him to miss the premiere of "Koch," a documentary biographical film that opens on Friday in theaters nationwide.
The New York Times leads its obituary by saying that Koch "parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams."
The lawyer-turned-public servant was a U.S. congressman from 1968 until he ran for mayor of the city in 1977 He served three terms until David Dinkins defeated him in a Democratic primary.
New York City has lost "an irrepressible icon," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
"In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader," Bloomberg said. "We will miss him dearly, but his good works -- and his wit and wisdom -- will forever be a part of the city he loved so much."
Koch told New York magazine in 1998: "I think my personality was helpful in this job. I always had a great sense of humor, though I am also pretty reserved personally. I mean, I don't go to chichi parties; never did. I don't like going to dinners other than small dinners at the homes of people. But I realized that if I was to harness the energies of the people of the city of New York and give them back their pride, I would have to become bigger than life. And I did."