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Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino Dies at Age 71

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Tom Menino, the former mayor of Boston, has died at age 71.

New England Cable News and other local media said the city's longest-serving mayor died Thursday. A week ago, he announced he was stopping chemotherapy and other treatments for inoperable cancer.

Menino left office in January after 20 years in office. He was diagnosed with cancer about a month afterwards.

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The popular mayor, a Democrat, enjoyed an approval rating around 80 percent when he left office, NECN said. Less than three weeks after he announced he wouldn't be running for a sixth term because of a variety of health issues, twin bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Menino had had surgery on a broken leg two days prior, but checked himself out of the hospital to guide his city through the bombing, which killed three people and hurt more than 260. Rising from his wheelchair at an interfaith prayer service days after the bombings, he praised the city's resilience, and told a tearful crowd that nothing could defeat the heart of Boston.

While Menino was a beloved staple in Boston politics, he wasn't known for his public speaking.

In his very first TV ad, he told voters, "I'm not a fancy talker, but I get things done."

Through his thick Boston accent, he often made verbal blunders — once confusing former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri with former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. Sports-obsessed Boston let him off easy for the gaffe.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted of Menino on Thursday, "We lost a great fighter today. Mayor Menino is gone, but his spirit lives on in every neighborhood in Boston."

And Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., said in a statement, "Boston has lost a political giant, and Diane and I have lost a friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to Angela and the whole Menino family. And we thank God for the service and the life of Tom Menino."

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—Elizabeth Chuck

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