Bob Salsberg

BOSTON: Thomas Menino, whose folksy manner and gaffes belied his shrewd political tactics to govern as Boston’s longest-serving mayor and one of its most beloved, died Thursday. He was 71.

Spokeswoman Dot Joyce said in a statement that Menino died in the company of his family and friends. He was diagnosed with advanced cancer in February 2014, shortly after leaving office, and announced Oct. 23 he was suspending treatment and a book tour.

Menino was elected in 1993 and built a formidable political machine that ended decades of Irish domination of city politics, at least temporarily.

He won re-election four times.

He was the city’s first Italian-American mayor and served more than 20 years.

Thomas Michael Menino was born on Dec. 27, 1942, in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was a former insurance salesman.

In his new memoir, Mayor for a New America, he made clear his public schedule was his greatest legacy.

“I paid attention to the fundamentals of urban life — clean streets, public safety, good schools, neighborhood commerce,” Menino wrote.

“Call my City Hall and you never got an answering machine. People trusted government because it heard them. Because they could talk to it. Because it kept its word.”