The late former Mayor Ed Koch and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have had one of the more complex and complicated relationships in New York political history.

Fierce foes, unlikely allies, Koch and Cuomo found themselves on the opposite side of political battles that even by city and state standards were tough and sharp-elbowed.

Koch and the elder Cuomo, Mario, faced each other one-on-one in both a heated race for New York City mayor in 1977 and then in a re-match for New York governor, with the outcome of the previous race in reverse.

Through it all at his father’s side was Andrew Cuomo. While rumors that both Cuomos were behind the scenes bashing Koch’s sexuality were never proven, the slogan “Vote For Cuomo Not The Homo” became part of our state’s political legends (Koch would say he believes the Cuomos were not behind the signs).

While Koch may have never forgiven the Cuomo family for a variety of transgressions, real or otherwise, the Cuomo-Koch relationship remained a fascinating one even as the younger man became governor in 2011, and the former mayor agitated publicly for an ethics overhaul of Albany.

Today, the governor released a lengthy statement praising Koch’s legacy as a larger-than-life figure in New York’s history.

“With the passing of Ed Koch, New York has lost one of our most admired public leaders. Ed Koch embodied the highest ideals of public service and his life was dedicated toward making New York – the city and our state – a better place for all. From his days on the front lines of World War II, his time in Congress, to his leadership as Mayor guiding New York City through difficult years, Ed Koch never strayed from his unwavering commitment to serving others.

“No New Yorker has – or likely ever will – voice their love for New York City in such a passionate and outspoken manner than Ed Koch. New York City would not be the place it is today without Ed Koch’s leadership over three terms at City Hall. Mr. Mayor was never one to shy away from taking a stand that he believed was right, no matter what the polls said or what was politically correct.

“Many times in my life I have turned to Ed Koch for his advice and guidance. Just yesterday I spoke with the Mayor to wish him courage and strength, and let him know he was on all of our thoughts and prayers. I will miss his friendship, and we will all miss his perpetual optimism and tireless commitment to continually striving to improve our city, state, nation and world. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I send my condolences to his family and friends.”