Longtime New York political powerhouse Basil Paterson has died. He served as a state senator, deputy New York City mayor and New York's first black secretary of state and was the father of former Gov. David Paterson, the state’s first black Governor.

Basil Paterson, who died Wednesday night at Mount Sinai Hospital, was 11 days short of his 88th birthday. He was among the influential “Gang of Four'' that included former Mayor David Dinkins, former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton and Congressman Charles Rangel.

His family said Paterson was known throughout the community as a “man of action'' who accomplished his goals.

“Basil Paterson exemplified a model of public leadership, serving the people of New York with integrity and dedication to make this State a better place. New York will miss him. From his service in the U.S. Army during World War II to breaking barriers to become New York's first African-American Secretary of State, Basil Paterson put his commitment to this State and our nation first. His legacy inspired a new generation of talented public leadership, a legacy his son Governor David Paterson carried on as Governor. Basil's spirit will forever be felt in the neighborhoods of Harlem, a community he loved, fought tirelessly for, and called home. We mourn his passing, and on behalf of all New Yorkers, I send my thoughts and prayers to Governor David Paterson and Basil's entire family.”

Early this morning, I learned of the passing of Basil Paterson, a good and decent man who was committed to public service and giving back to New York. Basil Paterson served the people of this state in many distinguished ways -
- in the U.S. Army during World War II, as State Senator, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Deputy Mayor of New York City, and as New York’s first African American Secretary of State.
Even with these numerous personal accomplishments, I know he was even prouder to watch his son David become New York’s 55th Governor and provide leadership during a difficult time in our state’s history.
I join all New Yorkers in mourning the death of Basil Paterson, and send my thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.  His contributions and legacy to our great state will endure.

“Basil Paterson devoted his life to his family and his family included all New Yorkers. He was a pioneer, who came from Harlem to blaze a trail for African Americans in politics across the country.  He was a powerful advocate for justice, whose example spurred on the many men and women who have followed in his footsteps. Our thoughts and prayers are with Governor David Paterson and the Paterson family as we mourn the loss of a great leader.”