Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, died of a heart attack on Tuesday, at the age of 65. He is credited with supercharging San Francisco’s growth, by attracting top tech companies and talents.
Lee had a severe heart attack at around 10PM on Monday while shopping at a local grocery store. He was quickly rushed to Zuckerberg General Hospital, and was pronounced dead in the early hours of Tuesday.
Lee’s tenure as Mayor made history, as he was the first Asian American mayor for San Francisco. He started off as a civil rights lawyer and went on to become a city administrator. He was elected to Mayor in 2011.
Lee used his prominent position to advocate for policies like the $15 minimum wage, and for various welfare schemes to combat homelessness. By his own admission, making San Francisco a “sanctuary city” is one of his most important achievements. Earlier this year, he oversaw another legacy project of his, approving $44 million to build residential area for teachers.
The mayor’s office has announced that the President of the Board of Supervisors – London Breed would take the position of the Acting Mayor, until the election for a new mayor. To honor the memory of Lee, all the flags at the City Hall were lowered with respect up to half of the staff.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his daughters Tania and Brianna, and his entire family,” Breed said in a statement that he gave to the reporters outside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday.
The Governor for California, Jerry Brown released a statement, “On behalf of all Californians, Anne and I extend our deepest condolences to Mayor Lee’s family, his many friends and the entire City of San Francisco. Ed was a true champion for working people and epitomized the California spirit. He’ll truly be missed.”
California Senator Dianne Feinstein was a close personal friend of Lee, and eulogized her friend. “Ed was an excellent mayor of a great but sometimes challenging city,” Feinstein said in a statement grieving the loss. “His equanimity and quiet management style was effective and allowed him to solve problems as they occurred. My heart and thoughts are with Ed’s family and friends and the city I love.”
“Ed served as mayor during a period of unprecedented growth in our city and an unprecedented housing shortage”, the Californian State Senator; Scott Wiener said, paying his respect to the deceased. “Ed never got the credit he deserved as arguably the most pro-housing mayor in the history of San Francisco, with a huge amount of affordable housing created or approved under his administration.”
“Sometimes he wasn’t the most brilliant public speaker and he didn’t seem super comfortable in that role, but when he talked to people on the street and in the Navigation Center, it was another side of Ed Lee,” Hillary Ronen – San Francisco Supervisor had said as she remembered the late mayor’s charm. “He was comfortable and natural and respectful.”