Koch remembered for his straight talk

NEW YORK (AP) — The man who succeeded Ed Koch (KAHCH) as mayor of New York remembers him as "a feisty guy who would tell you what he thinks." David Dinkins tells a New York TV station (Fox 5 News) that he could always rely on Koch for "a straight answer."

Koch, who was New York's mayor for three terms from 1978 to 1989, died today from congestive heart failure. He was 88 years old. He'd been readmitted to a hospital this week with shortness of breath, and was then moved to intensive care yesterday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city has lost an "irrepressible icon" and its "most charismatic cheerleader."

Koch was known for his often combative, bombastic personality -- and for breezing through the streets of New York flashing his signature thumbs-up sign. He dismissed his critics as "wackos" and waged verbal war with Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

He once said that his biggest personal achievement as mayor was rallying New Yorkers to endure a transit strike that crippled the city in 1980. Koch also rescued New York from near financial ruin.

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155-v-35-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)--Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has died. AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports. (1 Feb 2013)

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132-a-18-(Ed Koch (KAHCH), former New York mayor, in September 1997 interview)-"me, it's wonderful"-In archive audio of a September 1997 interview, Ed Koch said it made him feel good that New Yorkers hadn't forgotten him. ((note length of cut)) (1 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *132 (02/01/13)>> 00:18 "me, it's wonderful"

131-a-17-(Ed Koch (KAHCH), former New York mayor, in September 1997 interview)-"glad it's over"-In archive audio of a September 1997 interview, Ed Koch said he didn't miss being mayor of New York. ((note length of cut)) (1 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *131 (02/01/13)>> 00:17 "glad it's over"

GRAPHICSBANK: Ed Koch headshot, former New York City mayor, on texture, partial graphic (1 Feb 2013)

GRAPHICSBANK: ED KOCH headshot, former New York City mayor, with 1924-2013 lettering, finished graphic (1 Feb 2013)

APPHOTO NY116: FILE - In this March 1, 2011 file photo, former New York Mayor Ed Koch speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y. " Koch, the combative politician who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during three City Hall terms, has died at age 88. Spokesman George Arzt says Koch died Friday morning Feb. 1, 2013 of congestive heart failure. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) (1 Mar 2011)

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APPHOTO PAJL102: In this Sept. 7, 1981 file photo, New York City Mayor Ed Koch, center, gestures as he marches in a Labor Day parade down New York's Fifth Avenue. Koch died Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 from congestive heart failure, spokesman George Arzt said. He was 88. (AP Photo/Perez, file) (1 Feb 2013)

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