WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — Former DC Mayor Marion Barry died on Sunday morning, according to his family.
Family and very close associates are gathered at United Medical Center in Southeast, DC as the word spread.
The 78-year-old Barry had just been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday evening after being admitted on Thursday.
Barry had told WUSA9 Anchor Bruce Johnson by phone that he was there for observation.
“He sounded very weak when we talked Thursday evening; but he sounded better when he called me Friday morning,” Johnson said.
Marion Barry has battled a number of ailments including prostate cancer and diabetes. In 2009 he received a kidney transplant.
Barry leaves behind an legacy in DC politics that will probably never be matched in the city, according to Johnson, who covered Barry in the 80’s, 90’s all the way until recently until his death. “Mayor Barry knew how to organize, that’s what separated him from all the other politicians in the beginning of his career,” Johnson said.
Barry served as the District’s mayor from 1979 to 1991, then again from 1995 to 1999. He represented DC’s 8th Ward on the City Council until the day he died.
His local celebrity exploded into international fame in 1990, when he was videotaped smoking crack by federal agents. He was arrested and sent to federal prison for six months.
That time in prison, however, did not affect his political career in the city at all. He was elected to the city council just a year and a half later in 1992. Then, he was re-elected as the DC Mayor in 1994.
Barry leaves behind his wife, Cora Masters, his son, Marion Christopher Barry and his two stepdaughters, Tamara Masters Wild and Lalanya Masters Abner.
Mayor Vincent Gray released this statement early Sunday morning: “Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning of the passing of Ward 8 Council member and former Mayor Marion Barry.
Mayor Gray spoke with former First Lady Cora Masters Barry late Saturday and shared his condolences and sympathies with her, and as well said his thoughts and prayers were with the Council member’s son, Christopher.
“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” said Mayor Gray. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”
Mayor Gray said that he would work with Council member Barry’s family and the Council to plan official ceremonies worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia.”
The DC City Council released this statement early Sunday morning: “It is with deep regret that the family of former Four time D.C. Mayor, and Ward 8 City Councilman, Marion S. Barry, Jr., announces that he has passed.
Mr. Barry transitioned at approximately midnight on November 23, 2014, at the United Medical Center, after having been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday, November 22, 2014.
Mr. Barry released his autobiography “Mayor For Life, the Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr.” in June 2014.
A recorded interview with Barry will appear on OPRAH today at 9:00 p.m. EST to discuss his book, and 40-year political and civil rights career.
He leaves behind his wife, Mrs. Cora Masters Barry and his only child, son Marion Christopher Barry.
We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy at this time. Further details will be forthcoming.”