Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York and father of current Gov. Andrew Cuomo, died Thursday of natural causes due to heart failure, his family announced in a statement. He was 82.
Cuomo, known for his oratory skills, served as governor for three terms from 1983 to 1994. The democrat was the 52nd governor of New York. He also served as lieutenant governor and secretary of state of New York prior to his terms as governor.
His 1984 Democratic National Convention speech in San Francisco got him national attention after he slammed President Ronald Reagan, characterizing him as out of touch with poor Americans.
Party leaders unsuccessfully urged Cuomo to run for president twice.
He died, with his family at his side, just hours after his son was sworn into his second term in office on New Year’s Day.
“He’s not well enough to come,” his son told a crowd of dignitaries at One World Trade Center, according to The New York Daily News. “He couldn’t be here physically today but my father is in this room.”
Condolences—from politicians to supporters to journalists— began to flow in after news of the former governor’s death broke.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, his successor, described him as a “great New Yorker” of “soaring intellect” and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called him “a giant.”
To President Barack Obama, Cuomo was a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity.
“His own story taught him that as Americans, we are bound together as one people, and our country’s success rests on the success of all of us, not just a fortunate few,” Obama said in a statement.
Our deepest condolences on the passing of Gov Cuomo a proud son of immigrants, possessed of a soaring intellect & a great New Yorker.
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) Jan 01 2015
We have lost a true progressive giant with Governor Mario Cuomo’s passing today.
— Gov. David Paterson (@NYGovPaterson55) Jan 01 2015
Tonight, New York has lost a giant. Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind without equal.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) January 2, 2015
Mary Pat and I send our deepest condolences to Matilda, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the entire Cuomo family.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) January 2, 2015
So sorry to hear about the death of Mario Cuomo. RIP Governor and heartfelt condolences to the Cuomo family.
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) January 2, 2015
So saddened by Mario Cuomo’s death. He was my FIRST guest on Larry King Live & one of the brightest men ever. His was a great American life!
— Larry King (@kingsthings) Jan 01 2015
Today the New York family lost one of its greatest sons. Prayers to all who knew and loved Mario. -cs
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 2, 2015
He was survived by his wife of 60 years, Matilda Raffa Cuomo, his five children and 14 grandchildren.
Watch Mario Cuomo speak at the 1984 DNC
UPDATED 6:30 p.m. PT: to include family’s statement
UPDATED 8:30 p.m. PT: to include Obama’s statement