Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo died in his home Thursday at the age of 82, NBC News confirms.
Earlier Thursday, Cuomo’s son Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated to his second term as governor of New York. In his speech, Andrew Cuomo said his father was too ill to attend the inauguration ceremony, noting that the two spent New Year’s Eve together Wednesday.
In a statement released Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office confirmed that the former governor died of natural causes in his home. “Governor Cuomo presented 11 consecutive balanced budgets, reduced taxes, and implemented comprehensive governmental ethics and fiscal reforms,” the statement says, noting that “2014 marked 60 years of marriage to first lady Matilda Raffa Cuomo.”
In addition to his wife and son Andrew, the former governor is survived by daughter Margaret, daughter Maria, daughter Madeline and son Christopher.
“An Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents, Mario paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service – and we are all better for it,” President Obama said in a statement released Thursday. Obama called Andrew Cuomo Thursday to extend his condolences, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
Known to many as “Hamlet on the Hudson” for his seemingly constant deliberation over whether to run for U.S. president – which he never did – Mario Cuomo served as the Democratic governor of New York from 1983 until 1994. A noted orator, Cuomo delivered the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, overshadowing the presidential nominee, Walter Mondale, and marking a high-point in Cuomo’s political career.
Last month, Cuomo was hospitalized for a heart treatment. According to a press release from his son’s office, the elder Cuomo was “in good spirits” at that time.
In a statement released late Thursday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – a Republican and likely 2016 presidential hopeful – acknowledged the legacy of his colleague across the political aisle, saying “Our country and our region lost a giant today … He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people.”