Mario Cuomo, Three-Term Governor, Father Of Andrew Cuomo, Dies At 82

This story has been updated.

Mario Cuomo
Mario Cuomo Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Mario Cuomo, one of the leading figures in recent political history whose son Andrew followed his path to become governor of New York, died Thursday.

Mario Cuomo, who had been in ailing health the last few months and had been hospitalized recently for a heart condition, was 82. Cuomo's death was first reported Thursday evening by Time Warner Cable News NY1.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said in a statement late Thursday that the governor was with his father at the moment he died at his home in Manhattan, and that the the elder Cuomo "passed away from natural causes due to heart failure." Funeral arrangements will be "announced shortly," the statement said, with the funeral expected to be next week.

A proud product of Italian immigrants who was once regarded as a leading  contender to run for president, Cuomo's oratory energized Democrats from coast-to-coast. He served three terms as New York governor before being defeated by Peekskill native and Garrison resident George Pataki in 1994.

Cuomo became a national political figure after a memorable "Tale of Two Cities" keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1984 in which he disputed President Ronald Reagan's "Shining city on a hill" mantra.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had canceled his scheduled New Year's Eve swearing-in ceremony to spend time with his family as his father's condition worsened. Andrew Cuomo, a New Castle resident, was sworn in to a second term on Thursday in a ceremony at 1 World Trade Center, approximately six hours before his father died.

"We're missing one family member, my father is not with us today," Andrew Cuomo said during the ceremony. "We had hoped that he was going to be able to come. He's at home and he's not well enough to come.

"We spent last night with him, changed the tradition a little bit. We weren't at Albany last night. We stayed at my father's house to ring in the new year with him.

"I went through the speech with him. He said it was good, especially for a second-termer. You see, my father's a third-termer. 

"He sends his regards to all of you. He couldn't be here physically today. But my father is in this room. He's in the heart and mind of every person who is here. His inspiration, and his legacy and his experience is what has brought this state to this point. So let's give him a round of applause."

Mario Cuomo's death drew immediate reaction from Andrew Cuomo's opponent in the 2014 gubernatorial election, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

"He was a man of integrity and faith who worked to improve the lives of all New Yorkers," Astorino said in a tweet posted Thursday evening. "My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Cuomo family during this difficult time."

The White House said late Thursday evening that President Obama called Gov. Andrew Cuomo to express his condolences.

Mario Cuomo is survived by his wife of 60 years, Matilda (nee Raffa), as well as children, Margaret (Howard Maier), Andrew (Sandra Lee), Maria (Kenneth Cole), Madeline (Brian O'Donoghue), Christopher (Cristina Cuomo), and 14 grandchildren: Christina Cuomo Perpignano, Marianna Cuomo Maier, Cara Kennedy Cuomo, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, Michaela Kennedy Cuomo, Emily Cole, Amanda Cole, Katherine Cole, Samantha O'Donoghue, Kristin O'Donoghue, Tess O'Donoghue, Bella Cuomo, Mario Cuomo and Carolina Regina Cuomo.

For more on the life and political career of Mario Cuomo, check this story from the New York Daily News.


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