“Tonight, we say farewell to one of New York’s and this nation’s most influential African-American leaders – a man whom I am proud to have called a friend and mentor throughout my entire career.

“Percy Sutton was a trailblazer. He began his career as a prominent lawyer for Malcolm X and then took Harlem by storm as a leader of the Harlem Clubhouse where he launched not only his own successful political career but, as a member of the Gang of Four, spawned the successful careers of so many other African-American leaders. It was Percy Sutton who talked me into running for office and who has continued to serve as one of my most valued advisors ever since.

“The youngest of fifteen children, Percy dreamt big and exceeded even the highest of expectations. His success did not end simply with legal triumph or elective office – both of which he attained. Beyond those achievements, it was his entrepreneurial spirit that led to some of his greatest accomplishments – the rebirth of the Apollo Theater, the stewardship of a growing media empire and more.

“Percy was fiercely loyal, compassionate and a truly kind soul. He will be missed but his legacy lives on through the next generations of African-Americans he inspired to pursue and fulfill their own dreams and ambitions.

“Thank you, Percy, for your friendship and for all that you have contributed to our State and our Nation. On behalf of Michelle, the Paterson Family and all New Yorkers, our prayers are with your family.”