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Ed Koch, the brash, colorful and often confrontational mayor who helped to lead New York City out of its brush with bankruptcy in the 1970s, launching an astonishing municipal turnaround that continues to this day, has died. He was 88.

Koch was recently readmitted to the hospital after being treated for water in his lungs, The Associated Press reported. A spokesman confirmed the news of Koch’s death early this morning.

In December, Koch recently battled pneumonia and was being treated with antibotics and in September, he was hospitalized and was treated for anemia.

Koch took office on Jan 1, 1978 with New York City all but broke. Thousands of cops, firemen, sanitation workers and teachers had been laid off. Bridges were crumbling, the subways were caked in grime and graffiti, and crime was taking off.

Koch helped to restore the city’s credit with budget cuts, and he revived the city’s spirits with his unflagging enthusiasm for all things New York – and an unflinching willingness to stand up to opponents.

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Source: ABC News