Former Mayor Kevin White died at home tonight, surrounded by his family, Associated Press reports.
In his 16 years in office, "the loner in love with his city" presided over a Boston undergoing dramatic, often painful change, from the rebirth of large parts of downtown to the 1974 busing crisis.
White also famously helped forestall rioting after the death of Martin Luther King by convincing (and paying) James Brown to not cancel a scheduled concert at the Garden the night after King's assassination in 1968 - and by having it shown live on TV. Four years later, he again forestalled rioting by helping to bail out Mick Jagger and Keith Richards after they'd been arrested for a fight at TF Green Airport before a concert at the Garden.
White, commemorated by a larger-than-life statue across from City Hall, once even dreamed of running for president. Toward the end of his tenure, he famously pranked Herald columnist Peter Lucas, who had taken to calling him "Mayor DeLuxe" by getting Lucas to run a front-page column, based on "sources," that White would run for re-election. White then held a press conference to announce he wasn't running for re-election.
My thoughts and prayers are with the White family tonight. Mayor Kevin White was a great friend and a great leader. He will be sorely missed.
Councilor Ayanna Pressley:
God bless Kevin White and his family. Boston under Mayor White made great strides. We are all better for his compassion, courage & decency.