Former New York Mayor Ed Koch Dies at 88

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After leaving office, the politician had a second career on TV as a "People's Court" judge.

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch died Friday morning of congestive heart failure. He was 88.

As previously reported, Koch, in "obvious discomfort," was admitted to the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Thursday. He had been hospitalized since Monday for a fluid buildup in his lungs.

Due to his health problems, Koch could not make Tuesday's screening of director Neil Barsky's film about the mayor’s career, Koch.

The ex-lawyer served in Congress from 1968 to 1977, when he ran for New York mayor. He served three terms, helping save the city from financial collapse, until David Dinkins defeated him in the Democratic primary in 1989. In an interview with Fox 5 News on Friday, Dinkins called Koch "a feisty guy who would tell you what he thinks. ... Ed was a guy to whom I could turn if I wanted a straight answer."

"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," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement to The Associated Press.

After leaving politics, Koch enjoyed a career as a radio host and newspaper columnist and made a number of film and television appearances as himself in such movies as The First Wives Club and The Muppets Take Manhattan and on TV shows including Sex in the City and Spin City. He was the judge on The People’s Court from 1995-97 and also hosted Saturday Night Live.

Koch had been hospitalized in September for anemia and received a blood transfusion at Presbyterian.