Edwin M. Lee, the first Asian-American mayor of San Francisco, died suddenly early Tuesday morning. He was 65 years old.
The 43rd mayor of the city, Lee, died at 1:11 a.m. surrounded by relatives, friends and colleagues, according to a statement from the mayor's office. The cause of death was not disclosed immediately.
"Opponents may have disagreed with him about politics, but they all agree that our mayor was a good man with a good heart, he believed above all in building bridges and solving problems."
"Opponents may have disagreed with him about politics, but everyone agrees that our mayor was a good man with a good heart, he believed above all in building bridges and solving problems."
At a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Susan Ehrlich, general director of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, said Lee arrived by ambulance shortly after 10 p.m. on Monday in critical condition. The staff tried measures to save his life for several hours before he died, he said.
Ehrlich said that Lee's family, which includes his wife, Anita, and their two daughters, Brianna and Tania, had asked that no further medical information be shared. at this time.
The Reverend Norman Fong, executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinatown CDC), told NBC News that he was among those gathered at the hospital. Fong said he led a closing prayer for the mayor, whom he had known since the late 1970s.
Everyone was crying.
"He had some difficult challenges, because working with a city like San Francisco is not easy." Fong said. "But he worked hard all the time, it's a great loss not only for the Chinese community, but for all of San Francisco, because he did some things."
Condolences went back to Lee, who was named mayor in January 2011 to end the term of Gavin Newsom, who resigned to become California's lieutenant governor. He was elected in November 2011 and again in 2015.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors chairman, London Breed, who is now acting mayor, said the flags on San Francisco will fly half a crew for 30 days. Multiple transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay area momentarily interrupted the service on Tuesday in his memory.
Lee was born in Seattle and was the son of working-class immigrants of Chinese descent who grew up in public housing, Breed said at a news conference. Tuesday. Lee's mother was a seamstress, her father a veteran who died while Lee was a teenager.
"They instilled in him humility and disinterest. that he maintained throughout his life, "said Breed, who added that, like Lee, she also grew up in public housing.
Lee graduated from Bowdoin College in 1974, which he attended with a scholarship, and from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978, according to the website of the mayor's office and Breed.
Lee worked for the Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco, a legal and civil rights group now known as Asians. Advancing Justice-Caucus of Asian law, from 1976 to 1989, according to a statement by the nonprofit organization. He began as a paralegal and later became an administrative lawyer, advocating for affordable housing and workers' rights in the Bay Area.