The spirited, frequently blunt-spoken and generally well-liked Ed Koch, New York mayor from 1978 to 1989, left the earth early this morning. Koch had the personality of a real New Yorker, a guy who spoke straight from the shoulder, and everyone got that. I understood and to a certain extent respected his decision to keep his private life private, but others didn’t feel that way.

From Koch’s Wikipedia bio: “In And the Band Played On, his influential history of the early AIDS epidemic in America, Randy Shilts discussed the possibility that Koch ignored the developing epidemic in New York City in 1982-1983 because he was afraid of lending credence to rumors of his homosexuality.

“Author and activist Larry Kramer described the former mayor as a ‘closeted gay man’ whose fear of being ‘outed’ kept him from aggressively addressing the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s. Kramer lampooned Koch’s sexuality and perceived indifference to the plight of AIDS victims in The Normal Heart, in which the protagonist, an AIDS activist, lamented that the only way to get the mayor’s attention was to ‘hire a hunky hustler and send him up to Gracie Mansion with our plea tattooed on his cock.’

John Cameron Mitchell‘s movie Shortbus featured a gay Koch-like older gentleman lamenting his poor choices while mayor of New York City.

“In the 2009 Kirby Dick documentary Outrage, investigative journalist Wayne Barrett of The Village Voice stated that Koch was gay.”

I don’t like admitting it, but I’m going to die one day. Paul Thomas Anderson is going to die. Terrence Stamp is going to die. Harvey Weinstein is going to die. Michael Cieply is going to die. James Rocchi is going to die. Tom O’Neil is going to die. Scott Feinberg is going to die. Each and every person in my present-tense realm — every columnist, blogger, print journalist, publicist, ad buyer, distribution executive — will one day breathe his or her last and pass into the infinite. Ed Koch got there today. It happens ever day. As natural as breathing.