NEW YORK —
A lifelong bachelor, Koch offered a typically blunt response to questions about his own sexuality: "My answer to questions on this subject is simply, 'F--- off.' There have to be some private matters left."
Koch said in 1989 that that his biggest regret as he left office was that "Many people in the black community do not perceive that I was their friend."
During the 1988 presidential campaign, Koch said that "Jews and other supporters of Israel would be crazy" to vote for Jesse Jackson. The remark caused a black backlash that carried into the 1989 Democratic mayoral primary, when Dinkins took 97 percent of the black vote.
Koch said the second half of his remark about Jackson went unheeded. It was, "... in the same way that blacks and supporters of black causes would be crazy to vote for George Bush."
Jackson on Friday said in a statement that Koch's "leadership and legacy will never be forgotten in New York City, New York state or our nation."
Koch was fast-talking, opinionated and sometimes rude, becoming the face and sound of New York to those living outside the city. Koch became a celebrity, appearing on talk shows and playing himself in movies including "The Muppets Take Manhattan" and "The First Wives Club" and hosting "Saturday Night Live."
In 1989's "Batman," the character of Gotham City's mayor, played by Lee Wallace, bore a definite resemblance to Koch.
When Koch took over from accountant Abe Beame in 1978, one thing quickly became apparent — with this mayor, nothing was certain. Reporters covered him around the clock because of "the Koch factor," his ability to say something outrageous any place, any time.
After leaving office, he continued to offer his opinions as a political pundit, movie reviewer, food critic and judge on "The People's Court."