BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After a bout of illness which hospitalized him for a month in early December, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo has died at the age of 82 Thursday.
Sources say he died of natural causes from a heart condition around the time his son and current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was giving his inaugural address in Buffalo.
“He couldn’t be here physically today, my father. But my father is in this room,” Cuomo said. “He’s in the heart and mind of every person who is here, he’s here, he’s here.”
Cuomo pointed to his head and his heart before tipping his hat to his father’s time in office.
“And his inspiration and his legacy and his experience is what has brought this state to this point,” Cuomo said.
Other New York State officials weighed in on the loss of the former three-term governor.
“Mario Cuomo was a legendary figure in New York politics who chose public service for all the right reasons,” New York State Senator Dean Skelos said. “He could have run for President or been appointed to the Supreme Court, but he chose to stay and serve the people of New York.”
Most frequently, Cuomo is remembered for his gifted speaking skills, which surfaced many times during and after his 12 years in office.
“[He] used his gift for oratory to speak about his beliefs and ideals with great passion and, in doing so, made a significant impact on the political history of our state and nation,” Skelos said.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said he is sure as Andrew Cuomo gave his speech today, the former governor was looking down in appreciation.
“He was a colossal political mind and represented the very best of public service; he leaves an indelible legacy on the state he loved,” Schumer said. “My prayers and thoughts are with the Governor, the whole Cuomo family, and all who knew and loved Mario. Our hearts go out to Governor Andrew Cuomo who gave a great speech today that I am certain his father was proud of.”
President Barack Obama also sent his condolences to the Cuomo family, taking time to call them and speak with them directly.
“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.