Basil Paterson, 87, a longtime New York political powerhouse and the father of former Gov. David Paterson, has died, his family said Thursday.

Mr. Paterson died Wednesday night at Mount Sinai Hospital, according to a family statement that did not give the cause of death.

The Democrat served as a state senator, deputy New York mayor, and New York state's first black secretary of state.

He was part of the influential "Gang of Four" that included New York's first black mayor, David Dinkins, political power broker and civil rights activist Percy Sutton, and U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel. They built a power base that made Harlem a launching pad for the state's black leadership and opened doors for African American businesses.

"I feel a tremendous personal loss," Dinkins said. "He was a dear friend for a long time."

In later years, Mr. Paterson worked at the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein specializing in labor law. He also taught at the State University of New York at New Paltz, Fordham University, and Hunter College. - AP