NPR

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Dies

Councilman and former Mayor Marion Barry in March. (AP)

Marion Barry, the fiery Washington, D.C., politician who was famously re-elected after going to jail for crack cocaine possession, has died after months of battling health issues. He was 78.

The four-term mayor, who was still serving his third term on the D.C. Council, was famous for fighting for the district's disenfranchised but won national notoriety after he was caught on FBI video with an ex-girlfriend and crack cocaine in 1990.

He was considered by many to be the district's most charismatic and controversial politician.

Barry collapsed Saturday and was taken to United Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he died. He had just been released earlier from Howard University Hospital, where he had been admitted on Thursday, according to WUSA9.

The cause of death is unknown. Barry struggled with diabetes, a blood infection and was a prostate cancer survivor, reports WTOP. He had a liver transplant in 2009.

Barry won three terms as mayor, then spiraled into decline because of drug and alcohol abuse. After serving a prison term, he ran a fourth time for mayor in 1994 and won.

He told the crowd in 2004 the same thing that has always rallied his supporters.

"I'm gonna stand up for you, and everybody knows I've been given a gift by God, by God himself, to lead, to stand up, to fight, to empower people," he said.

Barry is survived by his wife, Cora, and son, Marion.

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