New York Mayor Bloomberg pays tribute to 'great' predecessor Ed Koch

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2013

The former mayor of New York has died at the age of 88.

Ed Koch oversaw the city for 11 years from 1978, stepping down only after losing a bid for a record fourth term in office.

A prominent figure who was known for being confrontational and opinionated, Mr Koch was credited with bringing New York back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Born in 1924 to Polish Jewish immigrants, he grew up in New jersey before serving in the army during the second world war, the training as a lawyer in New York. In 1969, after rising through the ranks of the state's Democratic Party, he was elected to his first term as a congressman.

The current mayor of the city, Michael Bloomberg, led the tributes to someone he described as "a great mayor, a great man, and a great friend".

He said: "In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader.

"Through his tough, determined leadership and responsible fiscal stewardship, Ed helped lift the city out of its darkest days and set it on course for an incredible comeback. We will miss him dearly."

A staunch supporter of Israel, Mr Koch turned his back on President Barack Obama in 2011 over his Middle East polices and endorsed a Republican contender for a local congressional seat.

Last updated: 1:07pm, February 1 2013