Ed Koch

Former New York City mayor and judge on TV's "People's Court" Ed Koch has died. He was 88.

FOX's Eric Shawn looks back at his life in politics from New York City:

Ed Koch

(Koch) "How am I doin'?" // (People Shouting) "Not bad!!"

Ed Koch brought New York City back from the brink when he was elected mayor in 1977.

(Koch) "Nobody thought I could win, but I got my message out, and people believed it and they voted for me.  It was a shock!"

He was born in 1924 in Newark, New Jersey, served in World War II and took on the Democratic Tammany Hall in the 1960's as a reformed Democrat before being elected councilman, Congressman and finally moving to City Hall, where he inherited a city besieged by crime, public unrest and near-bankruptcy.

(Koch) "New York is a great city, but the Big Apple does not grow in the Garden of Eden."

But by force of his personality, he put New York back on the path to solvency.

(Koch) "When I came in, the city was in a state of short-term debt of $6 billion, which we had to eliminate over a four-year period.  And we did it over a three-year period, and I'm very proud of what we did."

He created a billion-dollar housing program that wiped out abandoned ghettos and always forcefully spoke out on local and international issues.  After three terms, he was defeated in 1989, but that didn't stop him from writing and remaining involved in public issues as a private - and beloved - citizen.

(Koch) "As I said when I left office, I'm never going to retire.  I expect to die at this desk."

He often endorsed Republicans, and was known for his independent, passionate and spirited ways.  He even picked out a New York City gravesite because he said he didn't ever want to leave Manhattan.

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READ a statement from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on passing of Ed Koch:

"Earlier today, New York City lost an irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion, Edward I. Koch. He was a great mayor, a great man, and a great friend. 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, but his good works - and his wit and wisdom - will forever be a part of the city he loved so much. 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.

"I'm expressing my condolences on behalf of all 8.4 million New Yorkers, and I know so many of them will be keeping Mayor Koch and his family and friends in their thoughts prayers. As we mourn Mayor Koch's passing, the flags at all City buildings will be flying at half-staff in his memory."