President Obama, Clintons and Others Hail Mario Cuomo

The former New York Governor has died at the age of 82.

ByABC News
January 2, 2015, 12:06 AM

— -- The death Thursday of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo at age 82 brought forth a flood of tributes recalling a man President Obama called "a determined champion of progressive values."

Cuomo died of heart failure on the same day his son, Andrew Cuomo, was inaugurated for a second term as governor of New York.

Here are some of the most notable reflections on the life and legacy of Mario Cuomo:

President Obama:

"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. His own story taught him that as Americans, we are bound together as one people, and our country's success rests on the success of all of us, not just a fortunate few. Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Mario's wife Matilda, his children, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Chris, and his family, friends, and New Yorkers who loved him dearly."

Bill and Hillary Clinton:

"We are terribly saddened by the passing of our friend Mario Cuomo. Mario's life was the very embodiment of the American dream. When he placed my name in nomination at the 1992 Democratic Convention, he said government had "the solemn obligation to create opportunity for all our people." In his three terms as Governor of New York, he honored that obligation. 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. Our hearts and prayers go out to Matilda, Andrew, Margaret, Maria, Madeline, Christopher, his grandchildren, and all who were blessed by his life."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio:

“Tonight, New York has lost a giant. Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind that was without equal.

“He established the gold standard in New York State for how public servants should act, and set an example that the rest of us continue to aspire to today.

“He was a man who campaigned with poetry and governed with beautiful prose. He was a man who always stood for what he believed in, no matter what challenges were before him. He taught us how the family of New York -- and indeed the family of Americans -- must always support those most in need of help. And he was a leader who always brought New York State to a better place.

“As he would often remind us, the state’s motto was ‘Excelsior’ or ‘Ever Upward.’ Mario Cuomo personified the idea of New York, always urging us to look ‘ever upward.’ Excelsior, Governor Cuomo. We will never forget his legacy.

“On behalf of the people of New York City and my family, our thoughts and prayers are with Matilda Cuomo, Governor Cuomo, and the entire Cuomo family.”

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

"Today I was saddened to hear that we lost one of America's most eloquent voices for liberalism and one of the most important figures in modern New York politics. Mario Cuomo inspired millions of people around the country with his vision for a more compassionate and just society, and during difficult times for our city and state, he brought principled and ethical leadership to Albany. He never swayed with the political winds -- whether on the death penalty or any other issue -- and he earned a spot alongside Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Evans Hughes, Al Smith, and Franklin Roosevelt in the pantheon of New York's great progressive governors. But for all he accomplished, his proudest day in life well may have been his last, seeing his son, Andrew, inaugurated for a second term. I was lucky to call him a friend and will always appreciate the wise advice that he offered me over the years. My heart goes out to his wife, Matilda, and the entire Cuomo family, during this difficult time."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.:

"I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Governor Mario Cuomo. His outstanding service to our state and his commitment to the ideals that founded our nation inspired a new generation to devote their lives to public service.

"I learned from Governor Cuomo's example, and his extraordinary legacy will continue to guide my own work on behalf of New Yorkers. I will always be grateful for his wisdom and generosity.

"Governor Cuomo will be remembered as one of the great, inspirational leaders of our time. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Cuomo family."

Former New York Gov. George Pataki:

Former New York Gov. David Paterson:

Kenneth Cole, fashion designer and Mario Cuomo's son-in-law:

Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker:

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.:

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Few matched Governor Cuomo's eloquence when encouraging the American people to strive for a society that seeks equality of opportunity for all. Having been born and raised in New York myself, I benefited from the legacy he left and I appreciated that throughout his life, he embraced progressive policies that would move our nation forward without leaving any American behind.

"Today, his son Andrew Cuomo was sworn in for his second term as Governor of New York. In this time of loss, there is a measure of comfort in knowing that Mario Cuomo's legacy and his vision for America lives on in his son and throughout the Democratic Party. I wish to extend my condolences to Andrew and the entire Cuomo family."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:

"Our country and our region lost a giant today with the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo. 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. Mary Pat and I send our deepest condolences to Matilda, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the entire Cuomo family."

Larry King, talk-show host: