San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dies at age 65

Ed Lee was an established civil rights lawyer and championed "sanctuary cities," as well as fighting homelessness

By Charlie May

Published December 12, 2017 8:14AM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor, and established civil rights lawyer, died at the age of 65 on Tuesday due to cardiac arrest, according to multiple news reports.

"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," a statement from his office said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his family."

Lee became the city's mayor in January 2011, at first just as an interim replacement, following a vote by the Board of Supervisors, according to The New York Times. Former Mayor Willie Brown said Lee suffered from cardiac arrest on Monday night, according to KGO-TV.

Lee was known for his embrace of so-called sanctuary cities and for his fight to reduce homelessness.


Lee reluctantly held the position and expressed he didn't want "to hold the job on a permanent basis" but ran in the election in 2011 and won. Under San Francisco rules, the president of the Board of Supervisors, London Breed, will now serve as the acting mayor.

Breed is due to take over immediately and will become the first black woman to serve as mayor in San Francisco's history.

Charlie May

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