SAN FRANCISCO - The news of Ed Lee's passing hits hard particularly in San Francisco's Asian American Community.
Lee had done what no other Asian American had done before by becoming mayor of a major city.'
"Someone to follow in his footsteps for future generations. Those who may think they can't attain this position, it is possible," said Mel Lee, a member of the politically influential Chinese Six Companies and a longtime friend of Ed Lee.
"He had a huge heart. Doesn't matter if it is Chinese or African American or Hispanic. He was trained to be a social worker," said Mel Lee.
Many political observers say Mayor Lee was concerned the rising rents in Chinatown would lead to gentrification. He worked to build affordable housing here.
"Ed Lee cared about the Chinese American community and it showed in everything he did," said David Lee of the Chinese American Voter Education Project.
But Ed Lee apparently had another worry.
Just last week he lamented to friend and San Francsico State University political science teacher David Lee that there were not enough younger Asian Americans entering San Francisco politics.
"He worried the next generation of Chinese leadership haven't stepped up. And he felt it was important for people to vote run for office and build on past politcal success," he said.
But San Francisco assemblyman and former supervisor David Chiu disagrees.
"I think we have wonderful diversity of leadership in the Chinese and Asian community and beyond. And it will carry on, said Assemblyman David Chiu.
Chiu says Ed Lee will go down as a historic figure in politics,
"He broke a bamboo celiling. It wasn't ver long ago we had little Asian representation at city hall," said Chiu.
"He will be remebered as some who cared about the community," said David Lee..