Politicians and admirers took to social media to pay tribute to the three-term New York governor, who died Thursday at the age of 82

By Mary Margaret
Updated January 01, 2015 10:15 PM
Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage

The sad announcement of Mario Cuomo’s death on Thursday spurred a wave of emotion as politicians, luminaries and admirers took to social media and beyond to remember the three-term New York governor.

On New Year’s Day, as the nation was looking forward to a new future – and hours after his son Andrew Cuomo began his second term as New York’s governor – many paid tribute to the late politician, who turned humble roots into the foundation of a legendary career.

Cuomo, who died at the age of 82 and served three terms as governor of New York, was honored by his son shortly before the news of his passing became public.

“He is in the heart and mind of every person who is here,” Andrew Cuomo said Thursday during his inauguration speech. “He is here, and 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.”

In a statement, President Obama said: “Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. 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. He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity and opportunity.”

“We are terribly saddened by the passing of our friend Mario Cuomo,” Bill and Hillary Clinton said in a statement. “Mario’s life was the very embodiment of the American dream … It was Mario Cuomo’s great gift and our good fortune that he was both a sterling orator and a passionate public servant. His life was a blessing.”

New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, added his sentiments shortly after Cuomo’s death was announced.

“Our country and our region lost a giant today with the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo,” Christie said in a statement. “He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people. As an Italian-American, he was also a role model for future generations that anything was possible through hard work and education. Finally, he was a great husband, father and grandfather.”

According to a statement from the New York governor’s office, Cuomo passed away Thursday evening from natural causes due to heart failure with his family at his side. He is survived by his five children and his 14 grandchildren.