Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo died on Thursday at the age of 82, according to family sources, just hours after his son Andrew was sworn in for New York's top spot, a position he held himself for three terms starting in the 1980's.

The elder Cuomo, a liberal Democrat who flirted with a run for the presidency, had been ill for several months and was unable to attend the New Year's Day inauguration, his son's second as governor.

Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke fondly of his father during the ceremony in Manhattan.

“We’re missing one family member. My father is not with us today,” the governor said. "He's in the heart and mind of everyone who is here," he said.

“We weren’t in Albany last night; we stayed at my father’s house to ring in the New Year with him. I went through the speech with him. He said it was good, especially for a second-termer. See, my father is a third-termer,” Cuomo added.

Cuomo was elected in 1982 and won re-election in 1986 and 1990.  He was upset in 1994 by an unknown Republican State Senator, George Pataki.

Cuomo was considered one of the great orators of his time.

He delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1984, which has been ranked one of the best political speeches of the 20th century.  Cuomo's most famous speeches were gathered for a book titled "More Than Words."  He wrote several other books over the years including a children's book.

Watch Cuomo's speech at the Democratic Convention   "A Tale of Two Cities"

Mario Cuomo is probably best known in the Central New York area for the historic signing of the gaming compact he forged with the Oneida Indian Nation in 1993.  That agreement, which has led to municipality disputes over the Nation's tax-free status, ultimately resulted in the sprawling Turning Stone Resort and Casino, which is now Oneida County's largest employer at nearly 5000 jobs and one of New York State's top tourist destinations. The Oneida Nation recently announced expansion into Chittenango with a smaller casino themed after the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and a new outlet mall at the Turning Stone location in Verona.

Nearly two years ago, Cuomo helped the Oneida Nation celebrate their 20th anniversary of the gaming compact in 2013 when he touted the fact that progress was the result of the Oneida Nation, local municipalities and the state actually working together.

“In the last twenty years, the world seems to me to be coming apart with dissension, with the inability to work together,” Cuomo said. “What the Oneida Nation has done is to give us a lesson in collaboration. It is the magic word - collaboration.”

Just weeks before as governor, his son signed a landmark agreement settling multiple, long-standing disputes between the State, the Oneida Nation, Oneida County and Madison County.

Cuomo is survived by his wife, his son the governor and four other children including Chris who is an anchor with CNN.

 


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