Koch had been in and out of the hospital in recent months suffering from various health issues. The official cause of death is being reported as congestive heart failure.
“Earlier today, New York City lost an irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion, Edward I. Koch,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who led the push to rename the Queensborough Bridge for the former mayor, in a statement. “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.”
During his time at City Hall from 1978 to 1989, Koch was known as a tough and fiery leader. But his determined style is also credited for bringing the city out of some of its darkest times when it was on the verge of financial ruin.
"No New Yorker has - or likely ever will - voice their love for New York City in such a passionate and outspoken manner than Ed Koch,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “New York City would not be the place it is today without Ed Koch's leadership over three terms at City Hall.”
Koch, who also served in the House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977, didn't slow down after he left office. He stayed busy writing for local newspapers and stayed active in politics as an outspoken champion of policies and candidates he supported and as a commentator on NY1. He even spent two years as a judge on “The People's Court.”
Born in the Bronx in 1924, he moved to Newark, N.J., as a young child. Koch never married, and rumors about his sexual orientation dogged him his entire political career, but questions on the subject were off-limits for Koch.
“Many still think Ed Koch was single,” said former Councilman Peter Vallone, Sr., who was head of the City Council through much of Koch's time in office. “That's not true. He was married to this city, and loved it with a passion and devotion from beginning to end.”
During Koch's last term, his accomplishments were nearly washed away thanks to a scandal in the Parking Violations Bureau. While Koch was never implicated, the investigation - led by a young prosecutor named Rudy Giuliani - was the downfall for many of Koch's closest political allies.
Later in life, Koch would write a book about Giuliani called Nasty Man.
Koch was eventually defeated by David Dinkins. He would later mount an unsuccessful run for governor.
A funeral service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper West Side. He will be buried in Trinity Cemetery on Riverside Drive.