Pittsburgh Mayor Caliguiri Dies; Revived Steel City
Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri, who helped transform Pittsburgh from a sickly steel town to a vital corporate center, died today of a rare form of heart disease after more than a decade in office. He was 56.
The popular mayor was stricken at home by a heart attack and died at 1:36 a.m. in Shadyside Hospital, hospital spokesman Scott Meyers said.
City Council President Sophie Masloff, 70, was sworn in as the 54th mayor of Pittsburgh about seven hours after Caliguiri died.
Masloff, a Democrat and the city’s first woman mayor, may serve as the city’s chief executive until Caliguiri’s term expires in January, 1990, and will keep her council seat, officials said.
Caliguiri, serving his third term as mayor of this city of 400,000, suffered from cardiac amyloidosis, which deposits dangerous amounts of protein in the heart, kidneys and other major organs.
Caliguiri, a Democrat, grew up in a working-class neighborhood. He worked for 15 years in the city parks department, eventually as a director.
Caliguiri ran for mayor in 1977 and was sworn in April 10, 1978. He won reelection twice by landslides during a period in which the steel industry decayed and the region lost more than 75,000 jobs and unemployment rates hit 19%.
He launched Renaissance II, an ambitious program to attract more diverse businesses and industry. At the same time, he pumped millions of dollars into the city’s neighborhoods in an effort to stop flight to the suburbs.
He also is credited with keeping the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team in town and helping Pittsburgh earn an award as the nation’s most-livable city.