Ed Lee, San Francisco’s First Asian American Mayor, Dies at 65
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who championed affordable housing and the tech boom in Silicon Valley, has passed away at 65.
Lee collapsed suddenly while shopping at a local Safeway grocery store near his home in Glen Park at around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, according to SF Gate. He was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital where he died at 1:11 a.m. surrounded by his friends and family. His death was ruled a heart attack.
“It is with profound sadness and terrible grief that we confirm that Mayor Edwin M. Lee passed away on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:11 a.m. at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Family, friends and colleagues were at his side. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his family.” the mayor’s office said in the statement.
Many people went on social media to express their grief for the beloved mayor.
Very sad day for SF, passing of a good, kind person, Mayor Ed Lee. Thoughts and prayers with his family and loved ones during this very difficult time. pic.twitter.com/bhvtpllTQ4
I’m so sad to hear of the passing of Mayor Ed Lee, one of the nicest & kindest leaders I’ve ever known. I’ll always remember my favorite lunch with him where he asked me to focus Salesforce on improving the SFUSD Middle Schools. May the one who brings peace bring peace to all. pic.twitter.com/YGiQNBb7Mb
Our hearts are heavy today w the sudden passing of Mayor Ed Lee, a tireless public servant+civil rights champion who devoted his life to the people of San Francisco. I’m deeply saddened for this great loss in our community. My thoughts are w his family during this difficult time.
Absolutely heartbroken by Mayor Lee’s passing. SF has lost a selfless leader and dedicated public servant whose intellect, integrity, boundless optimism & contagious love elevated our City. Jen and I mourn the loss of a dear friend. Our prayers are with Anita, Brianna and Tania. pic.twitter.com/sNagX55s7F
Mayor Ed Lee, 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, dedicated his career to public service and our city. Our hearts and prayers are with his family- his wife Anita Lee + two daughters. A truly decent human being who loved a good joke, he stepped up to lead. He will be greatly missed.
We are stunned and saddened by the news of @mayoredlee’s sudden death this morning. The lasting impact he leaves on the City of San Francisco is a timeless tribute to his incredible leadership and vision.
Born on May 5, 1952 in Seattle to Chinese immigrant parents, Lee was one of six children. His mother was a seamstress and his father was a war veteren who died when Lee was a teenager. He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1974 and received his law degree from University of California, Berkeley, in 1978.
During his time as a law student, Lee sued San Francisco over unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the first tenants’ rent strike against the city’s housing authority, according to Reuters. He became a fully fledged civil rights attorney shortly thereafter.
Lee was appointed mayor by the Board of Supervisors on January 11, 2011 after Mayor Gavin Newson resigned to assume office as Lieutenant Governor of California. He was elected on November 8, 2011 to serve out his full term as mayor and was reelected in 2015. He’s the first Asian American Mayor in San Francisco.
Lee is survived by his wife, Anita, and two daughters, Brianna and Tania. London Breed, the president of the board of supervisors, will now serve as acting mayor, following the city’s rules.