Luis Alvarez, a 9/11 responder who testified before Congress about the depleted Sept. 11 victims fund, has died at age 53. He passed away after a long battle with cancer, his family said on Saturday.
A retired New York Police detective, Alvarez appeared with comedian and former talk show host Jon Stewart before a House Judiciary subcommittee in Washington. He asked the panel to replenish the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which is almost out of funds.
Alvarez died from advanced-stage colorectal cancer that caused his liver to fail. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2016, and doctors believe it was linked to time spent at Ground Zero after the World Trade Center collapse.
His death was announced by his family on Facebook. “Please remember his words, ‘Please take care of yourselves and each other,”’ his family said. “We told him at the end that he had won this battle by the many lives he had touched by sharing his three year battle. He was at peace with that, surrounded by family. Thank you for giving us this time we have had with him, it was a blessing.’
In his final interview on June 20th, Alvarez said he had no regrets. “9/11 happened. We got called down. It’s my job as an NYPD detective to respond to emergencies. So, no hesitation. We went down, spent about three months down there doing the bucket brigade, doing rooftop detail, trying to find remains. I did what every other FDNY, NYPD, EMS worker – everybody. I’m nobody special. I did what all the other guys did. And now we’re paying the price for it.”