Richard Daley died of a heart attack in is doctor's office on Monday night (20 December).
Richard Daley died of a heart attack in is doctor's office on Monday night (20 December). Mr. Daley had been Chicago's longest serving mayor and one of the most powerful political forces in the United States.
Daley's political machine was a political force that no American Democrat could afford to ignore. Would-be Democratic presidents courted his support -- like Jimmy Carter this year. The machine was built through the powers of the 35,000 city jobs Mr. Daley controlled through his mayoral office. The 74 year-old Daley rose from being a Democratic party organiser to the Mayor of the second biggest city in the U.S. for an unprecendented 24 years.
Mr. Daley's most critical period came with the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. There anti-Vietnam protesters hanged an effigy of him, before police moved in to spark off one of the worst riots in American history. Scores of people were injured -- 300 were arrested and Mr. Daley encouraged the police force to go beyond the normal bounds of duty.
But even his critics admitted that he ran Chicago well, It's credit ratings are high and the city prospered as the focal point of industrial America.