Thomas Menino, the colorful mayor of Boston who once scoffed that "visionaries don't get things done," then proceeded to shape his beloved city on a pretty visionary level, died today of cancer, reports the Boston Globe. He was 71. He was diagnosed in February, a month after he left office, having served an unprecedented five terms. He announced a week ago that he was suspending both treatment and a planned book tour to spend time with his family, notes the AP; a spokeswoman says he died today in their company.
First elected in 1993, health problems forced Menino to announce in late March 2013 he would not seek a sixth term. Three weeks later, when bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Menino checked himself out of the hospital where he was being treated for a broken leg to help pull his reeling city up by the bootstraps; in what the AP calls "a symbolic act of personal defiance," three days later Menino literally struggled from his wheelchair to his own feet at an interfaith service. Though far from smooth and at times prone to gaffes—the AP notes he once referred to Boston's terrible parking situation as "an Alcatraz," rather than albatross, around his neck—the Globe lauds him for helping to "shepherd Boston's economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved." The Globe has a photo album of "Mr. Boston" here. (Read more Thomas Menino stories.)