The life of the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was celebrated Wednesday morning, a year after his sudden passing, by former colleagues, family and even his favorite band.
At the mayor's balcony inside San Francisco City Hall, former Mayor Willie Brown said Lee "would rather have been a lawyer suing the city [on behalf of those without a voice]...than leading it."
Lee wasn’t seeking the limelight, but he led with fierce desire for justice.
"I remember Mayor Ed Lee as a friend and as a compassionate leader who cared deeply about the City and people of San Francisco. On the anniversary of his passing, our thoughts are with his family," San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said.
Lee, 65, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Dec. 12, 2017.
The hallways of City Hall filled with the a cappella vocals of #PureEcstasy, former Mayor Ed Lee’s favorite group. “Unforgettable,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “I’ll Be There” part of a moving medley. #RememberingEdLee #Oneyearanniversary @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/mssHKpnYro— Sam Brock (@SamNBCBayArea) December 12, 2018
Willie Brown opens remarks of 1-year anniversary of death of Mayor Ed Lee with a little levity- “He would rather have been a lawyer suing the city [on behalf of those w/o a voice]...then leading it.” Lee wasn’t seeking the limelight, but he led with fierce desire for justice. pic.twitter.com/Ofyb402BfM— Sam Brock (@SamNBCBayArea) December 12, 2018
Lee’s daughter Brianna Lee spoke about how strange it was that the personal pain of losing her father has become so public. But at the same time, she said the outpouring of support from the community has been "unforgettable."
Mayor London Breed remembered Lee as a "caring father and husband."
She said, "As the first Chinese-American mayor, the city will always hold a place of pride in our hearts, but especially in the hearts of our Chinese and Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Thank you to Mayor Lee for your service and we really miss you dearly."
Musical group Pure Ecstasy, one of the former mayor's favorite band, performed a cappella renditions of “Unforgettable,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “I’ll Be There” as a part of a moving medley.
Lee was born in Seattle to Chinese immigrant parents. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, Lee became a notable figure in San Francisco's Chinatown, working at the Asian Law Caucus for 13 years before moving on to become a public servant.