Former Mayor Ed Koch, 88, has been hospitalized in New York.

Story highlights

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, 88, is in an intensive care unit

He "was in obvious discomfort," his spokesman tells CNN affiliate WCBS

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has been placed in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, his spokesman said Thursday.

Koch spokesman George Arzt, who spoke to the former mayor this morning, told CNN affiliate WCBS that the mayor “was in obvious discomfort.”

“After I spoke to him … his lead doctor and cardiologist decided that he should be put into the intensive care unit,” Arzt said.

Koch, 88, was hospitalized last September for anemia and underwent a blood transfusion at the same hospital.

The lawyer-turned-public-servant was a U.S. congressman from 1968 until he ran for mayor of the city in 1977. He served three terms – from 1978 to 1989 – until he was defeated in a Democratic primary by David Dinkins.

After he left office, Koch – whose ebullient personality made him popular nationwide – practiced law, hosted a radio show, was a newspaper columnist and made countless appearances on TV series as himself. His cameos included “Sex and the City,” “Spin City,” and “Picket Fences.”

For two years starting in 1997, he was the judge on the syndicated show “The People’s Court.”