SF leaders express shock, sadness at sudden death of Mayor Lee

San Francisco leaders were shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee early Tuesday morning.

The mayor died at 1:11 a.m. at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital after suffering a heart attack while shopping at his neighborhood Safeway earlier in the evening. Per city charter, Board of Supervisors President London Breed immediately assumed the role of acting mayor.

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“It was with great sadness that my family and I received the heartbreaking news of the passing of a dear friend and extraordinary leader, Mayor Ed Lee. All who knew Mayor Lee understood him as a true gentleman of great warmth, positivity and kindness. His passing is not only a tragic official loss for our city but also a profound personal loss for all who were fortunate enough to call him friend.

“Mayor Lee’s first priority was always the people. As a community organizer, civil rights lawyer and hard-working son of an immigrant family of modest means, Ed Lee understood that the strength of a community is measured by its success in meeting the needs of all of its people. He knew the rhythms and the workings of San Francisco at the most granular level, and dedicated decades to improving the lives of all San Franciscans.

“As Mayor, he served with exceptional dignity and great effectiveness. His values-based, pragmatic leadership was invaluable in leading the city into strong economic expansion and continuing San Francisco’s role as a model for the nation. His firm commitment to vibrant, dynamic communities and to expanding affordable housing, tackling homelessness with a special focus on our veterans, and ensuring a living wage for all San Franciscans leaves a lasting and inspiring legacy.

“Mayor Lee never had an unkind word for anyone, and no one ever had an unkind word for him. Even through our heartbreak, you think of the person Ed Lee was, and you smile.

“Mayor Lee took deep pride in serving as the first Asian-American Mayor of San Francisco. His greatest source of joy was his beloved family, and our city owes a debt of gratitude to his wife Anita and his daughters Brianna and Tania for sharing this exceptional, lovely person with us. My deepest love and prayers are with his family during this time. My prayers and cooperation are also with Acting Mayor London Breed.”

— Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco

“I’m just floored that Mayor Lee is gone. I was sworn in as a member of the Board of Supervisors just days before Ed became Mayor of San Francisco, and I had the honor of working closely with him for the past 7 years. Just yesterday I held a press conference with him about a new recycling program. He was his normal jovial and friendly self.

“Ed Lee was a kind and decent human being who cared deeply about our city and our community. The Chinese community was so proud to finally have a mayor from the community – something it had waited for for over 150 years.

“Ed served as mayor during a period of unprecedented growth in our city and an unprecedented housing shortage. Ed never got the credit he deserved as arguably the most pro-housing mayor in the history of San Francisco, with a huge amount of affordable housing created or approved under his Administration.

“I send my deepest condolences to Ed’s wife, Anita, and his daughters. Ed was, at heart, a family man, and I’m so sorry for his family’s loss.

“San Francisco has lost a great leader.”

— State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco

“Mayor Ed Lee cared deeply about our City, the safety of its people and the well-being of the men and women of the San Francisco Police Department. Our City has lost a great leader and we are shocked and saddened by his passing. During this time of sorrow, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his daughters and his family.”

— Police Chief William Scott

“Today San Franciscans lost a lifelong public servant who was deeply committed to making our city a better place for everyone, from every walk of life. This is an unspeakable loss for San Franciscans, but the unimaginable grief that has settled on the Lee household as the holidays near is heartbreaking. Fabiola and I send our deepest condolences to the Mayor’s family and to his staff a city hall.

“This is a sad day for San Francisco, but the Mayor’s memory and the style with which he led demand that we come together and work together, even in the most difficult of times.”

— District Attorney George Gascon

“The Board of Directors, staff and members of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce are deeply saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of Mayor Edwin Lee. Mayor Lee lead our city from the depths of the Great Recession to a time of incredible growth. As San Francisco became the innovation capital of the nation, Mayor Lee always remained dedicated to supporting our small business community, recognizing them as the backbone of our local economy.

“Mayor Lee was a supporter of the business community and an advocate and friend of the SF Chamber, we will miss partnering with him on many initiatives that have enhanced the city’s reputation and showcased its innovation on a national scale.

“Mayor Lee was a community leader, activist and pioneer. His dedication and compassion for the city and its residents was clear in everything he did.

“Our thoughts are with his wife Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his entire family.”

— Tallia Hart, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

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