PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. died Thursday at the age of 74, and news of his sudden passing sent shockwaves throughout the community.
Reaction came pouring in, with local leaders remembering the lasting impact he had on the capital city and the state of Rhode Island.
- Remembering Cianci: Share your condolences
- Photos: Buddy Cianci throughout the years
- Timeline: The life and legacy of Buddy Cianci
Gov. Gina Raimondo
“My thoughts and prayers go out to former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s family, friends and loved ones. He was a colorful part of Providence’s fabric, and his love for our capital city never wavered.”
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza
“My thoughts and prayers are with Mayor Cianci’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. Mayor Cianci’s love for the City of Providence is undeniable and his mark on the city will not be forgotten,” said Mayor Elorza. “I have ordered flags at City Hall to be flown at half-staff as we make arrangements to recognize his memory.”
Former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras
“Buddy Cianci was one of a kind. His love and impact on Providence will be felt for generations, by those who enjoy a show at PPAC or stroll by the rivers during WaterFire. He recently joked with me that we were part of a very exclusive club, former Providence mayors and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidates. That was Buddy, always funny. My deepest condolences to his grandchildren and family. Rest in peace Mayor Cianci.”
Congressman and former Providence Mayor David Cicilline
“Buddy Cianci is a part of the history of our great city and state. Everyone who knew him has a story to tell and I suspect those stories will be told and retold at barber shops and coffee counters and board rooms throughout the state in the coming days. I extend my condolences to his family and many friends.”
Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino
“With this morning’s passing of Providence’s longest serving mayor, Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., the people of Providence and the City itself has lost its greatest champion. He gave his heart to Providence. The city’s energy and very soul will always reflect his love and brilliance in forging the Providence Renaissance. Our thoughts and prayers are now with his family and his fiancée. As arrangements are made, more information will be released.”
Beryl Kenyon, Cianci’s longtime press secretary
“With this morning’s passing of Providence’s longest serving mayor, Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., the people of Providence and the city itself have lost its greatest champion. He gave his heart to Providence, and the city’s energy and its very soul will always reflect his love and his brilliance in forging the Providence Renaissance. Our thoughts and prayers are now with his family and his fiancée. As arrangements are made, more information will be released.”
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed
“At this difficult moment, I hope his family and friends find peace and comfort in their memories of a unique personality and life. This is a time for reflection. Clearly Buddy Cianci cared deeply about his native city.”
Congressman Jim Langevin
“Buddy Cianci had an undeniable impact on the City of Providence and its people. He is a Rhode Island institution, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Charles Mansolillo, former city solicitor and one of Cianci’s closest friends
“There will never be another Buddy Cianci. He revolutionized city government and brought on a new era of cooperation with stakeholders around the city.”
Nick Hemond, Providence School Board President and someone who Cianci mentored
“He was a dear friend and mentor to me. I think his greatest achievement of all was that he got people to believe in Providence again. The city would not be where it is today without Buddy Cianci.”
Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn
“I will miss my longtime friend Buddy Cianci. He was a great Mayor to the City of Providence. I just spoke to him the other day about family, politics and Friar basketball. I was proud to stand with him in good times and the rough days as well. He often called Joe Paolino and me his two most loyal friends; which I was proud to be called. His visits to Rome, and our many meetings when we were mayors we’re very special. We remained close friends. He did a lot to help the people of Providence and he will be deeply missed.”
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello
“We have lost a giant on the Rhode Island political landscape. Buddy Cianci moved the City of Providence forward with many impressive accomplishments. In his second career as a radio and TV host, he was an informative voice who engaged many Rhode Islanders in the political process. He will be deeply missed.”
Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee
“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Mayor Buddy Cianci, who for so long has been a fixture in Providence, a city he truly loved. The Mayor lifted Providence up in many ways, overseeing its renaissance in the 1990s, and the capital would not be the same but for him. I send my condolences to his family and friends.”
Providence City Council President Luis Aponte
“Today is a sad day as our city mourns the loss of its longest-serving mayor,” said Council President Luis Aponte. “We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Mayor Cianci’s shadow looms large over the City of Providence. His brilliant mind, charisma, passion, and love for Providence are woven into his legacy.”
Providence City Council Majority Leader Kevin Jackson
“This is a tremendous loss,” said Majority Leader Kevin Jackson. “He had a great vision for our city and he will be deeply missed.”
Providence City Councilman Terrence Hassett
“I’m in deep sorrow,” said Councilman Terrence Hassett. “For me, this is a great loss. He was a personal friend for many years, and I’m sincerely going to miss his counsel and his advice on the challenging issues we face every day in city government and city life.”
Providence City Councilman David Salvatore
“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning about the passing of former Providence Mayor, Vincent “Buddy” Cianci. Rhode Island has lost an iconic public figure. As an elected official in Providence, I enjoyed engaging in conversation with Buddy and will fondly remember our discussions, whether they were in passing on Federal Hill or with him on WPRO. He was always passionate and eager to talk about his favorite sport: politics. Today, as so many of us reflect on the life of Mayor Cianci, one thing is clear: his passion for the city he loved so much will never be forgotten. The City of Providence will forever carry his memory and the legacy he leaves behind. I join the many Providence residents in sending my thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones.”
RI Democratic Party Chairman Joseph McNamara
“The Rhode Island Democratic Party joins fellow Rhode Islanders in offering deepest sympathies on the sudden passing of Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci to his fiancée, family and colleagues. His colorful personality, passion for living and dedication to all things political will long be remembered: his larger than life personality will be greatly missed. Buddy Cianci was a true legend in Rhode Island, and he will leave a lasting mark on government, politics and his beloved capital city.”
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung
“Today, I ordered the city flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Cranston native and former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr.
Mayor Cianci was a true Rhode Island icon who was larger than life. Most Rhode Islanders, including me, our own “Buddy” story.
Most importantly, he touched many individuals and was always willing to give of himself to many worthy charitable causes. We will never forget his life fully lived. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”
Bishop Thomas Tobin, Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence
“I was very sorry to learn of the passing of Mayor Buddy Cianci, and on behalf of the Diocese of Providence, I extend our sincere sympathy and promise of prayers to his family, friends, associates and all those who mourn his loss.
Throughout his career, Mayor Cianci was unfailingly helpful to the Catholic Church in Providence and for that we will always be grateful. As Mayor of Providence he was keenly aware of the enormous contributions the Church makes every day to our community and he wanted to support that mission.
On this occasion we call to mind the saying, ‘Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.’ While we reflect upon Buddy’s past contributions, we are also comforted by the future that awaits him in the presence of a merciful God. May Almighty God be good to him, forgive his sins, and reward the many good things he accomplished during his time on earth.”