Ed Koch, a former three-term New York City mayor and judge on The People’s Court, died Friday from congestive heart failure at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was 88.

Koch was known as a charismatic figure who freely spoke his mind. His signature catchphrase was “How’m I doing?” He is now remembered as an influential politician and honorable man.

"He was a great man, a great mayor and a great friend," New York City 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. His spirit will live on not only here at City Hall, and not only on the bridge the bears his name, but all across the five boroughs."

Bloomberg said all city building flags would be at half-mast today.

A New Yorker through and through, Koch was born in the Bronx, went to City College, and studied law at New York University. He was elected as mayor in 1979 and held the position until 1988, when a swell of corruption throughout the political scene drastically diminished Koch’s popularity even though he was not directly tied to the scandals.

After his time as mayor Koch remained active, publishing books, endorsing political candidates and even appearing as a judge on The People’s Court.

Never married, some speculated Koch was gay, however these rumors were never confirmed. A documentary of the politician's life, Koch, was screened at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, and hits theaters today, the New York Post reports. When Koch, who also reviewed movies after his political career, learned of the documentary he said, “Just don’t tell me what the plot is.”

—Hal Sundt

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