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San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee Dead at 65


San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee passed away at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Dec. 12, 2017.

San Francisco is in shock and mourning after the sudden death of Mayor Ed Lee, the city's first Asian-American mayor.

Lee collapsed while shopping in a Safeway supermarket Monday night and was pronounced dead of a heart attack at his home several hours later. He was 65.

City officials cried openly in the offices and corridors of city hall as news of the mayor's death spread.

They remember him as friendly and fun and someone who embraced San Francisco's traditional openness and liberalism.

Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered flags to be flown at half staff at all California state buildings.

U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco in Congress, called Lee "a true gentleman of great warmth, positivity, and kindness

Lee was born in Seattle to Chinese immigrants and moved to the San Francisco region to study at University of California at Berkeley law school.

He became a highly-respected civil rights lawyer and had at one time represented Asian and female firefighters in a discrimination lawsuit against the city he would later lead.

He joined the city government in 1991 as director of its Human Rights Commission and rose up though the ranks before city supervisors appointed him mayor to replace Gavin Newsom, who became California Lieutenant-Governor in 2011.

Lee was officially elected mayor later that year and re-elected in 2015.

Lee has been credited with tax breaks that attracted high-technology companies to San Francisco, resulting in one of the lowest big city unemployment rates in the U.S.

But his critics say this caused housing prices and rents in San Francisco to skyrocket, creating a homeless crisis.

The head of the board of supervisors will become acting mayor until a new election is held.