Anthony Russo, a colorful Hudson County politician who served as mayor of Hoboken from 1993 to 2001, died this morning. He was 74.
Russo has faced health issues for more than 20 years. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2000 and given less than a year to live, but surgery to remove the tumor was successful. He faced additional cancer diagnoses in 2001 and 2003.
He succeeded Mayor Patrick Pasculli in 1993, winning by about 1,400 votes, and was re-elected in 1997.
Despite his illness, Russo sought a third term as mayor in 2001 but lost to David Roberts, a councilman.
In March 2003, he returned to local politics as the winner of a special election for the Hoboken City Council. He was forced to resign just a few months later after his cancer recurrence.
His wife, Michelle, died in 2019. He is survived by his children, including his son, Michael, a Hoboken councilman.
“Mayor Russo was a larger than life figure who was beloved by his family, friends and community. His contributions to Hoboken were many, including the revitalization of our waterfront, an effort that continues to this day. Hoboken is the great place it is today in large part thanks to his vision for our City, and his memory will live on for generations to come,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “My sincere condolences are with the entire Russo family for their loss.”
Bhalla has ordered all municipal flags to fly at half-staff for one week, starting on tomorrow.
This story was updated at 4:12 PM with comment from Bhalla.