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Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Liberal Icon, Dies

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away due to heart failure Thursday evening, just hours after his son, Andrew Cuomo, delivered a speech at a ceremony kicking off his second term as governor of New York. The elder Cuomo had been hospitalized for heart issues in November, and reports surfaced that he looked frail attending his son's re-election party November 4.

Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, served three terms from 1983 to 1994. He was touted as "a progressive giant," "a soaring intellect," and "a man of unwavering principle" during his time in office and is perhaps best known for a powerful speech he delivered at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, where he spoke passionately and memorably about issues such as poverty and inequality.

President Barack Obama issued a statement following Cuomo's death pointing out that Cuomo, the son of Italian immigrants, was an example of what America is all about -- hard work and lofty goals:

"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."

Cuomo ran to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988 and 1992 but declined both times. In 1993 he turned down an opportunity to be nominated by President Bill Clinton for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, deciding he would rather stay in politics than make such a switch.

Prominent people in the media and politics took to social media to pay their respects:

Here is his famous speech:

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