Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Boston’s longest serving mayor, died Thursday at age 71. Menino was diagnosed with advanced cancer shortly after leaving office at the beginning of this year. Menino, who governed the city's highly lauded urban renewal during his more than 20 years as mayor, announced in March 2013 that he would not run for a sixth term.
In recent years, Mayor Menino’s health had been declining. He suffered from a respiratory infection and other health issues recently. During his tenure, he was hospitalized numerous times: for kidney stones in 1995 and 1997, for surgery to remove a tumor on his back in 2003, and when he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2004. Three days prior to the Marathon bombing Menino was hospitalized with a broken leg. Despite his poor health, he attended the first news conference following the Marathon bombing and later attended an interfaith service stating, “We are one Boston...No adversity, no challenge, nothing can tear down the resilience in the heart of this city and its people.”
Mayor Menino helped to turn the city of Boston into the lively city it is today. During his time in office, development accelerated as the city added millions of square feet of new buildings. With his great power in decision-making within the city, he was able to swiftly approve or block any development deal that crossed his path. Known for his micromanaging, he once intervened to personally approve the design of a Back Bay tower’s crown-like peak.
In a statement regarding Mayor Menino’s death, President Obama commented, “Tom was the embodiment of the city he loved and led for more than two decades...As Boston’s longest-serving mayor, Tom helped make his hometown the vibrant, welcoming, world-class place it is today. His legacy lives on in every neighborhood he helped revitalize, every school he helped turn around, and every community he helped make a safer, better place to live.”
Mayor Menino was a constant presence in the city throughout his term in office. More than half of the Bostonians who responded to a 2008 Globe poll said they had met him personally.
Menino is survived by his wife, the former Angela Faletra, and his two children, Susan Fenton and Thomas M. Menino Jr.