Luis Alvarez, a former New York City detective and 9/11 first responder who pleaded with Congress to extend health benefits for those who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, died Saturday.

Alvarez, 53, died in a hospice in Rockville Centre, N.Y., according to a statement by Matthew McCauley, a retired NYPD officer who is Alvarez’s lawyer and friend.

McCauley wrote on Facebook that Alvarez’s death resulted from complications of colorectal cancer, with which he had been diagnosed in 2016. Alvarez’s cancer was linked to the three months he spent searching for survivors and for the remains of his fellow officers at ground zero.


“It is with peace and comfort, that the Alvarez family announce that Luis (Lou) Alvarez, our warrior, has gone home to our Good Lord in heaven today. Please remember his words, ‘Please take care of yourselves and each other,'” McCauley wrote.

“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,” he added.

Alvarez had undergone dozens of chemotherapy treatments while remaining active in efforts to lobby Congress for funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The fund provides compensation for medical care for first responders who contracted deadly illnesses related to their work following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“My legacy to them is dad did his best. Never quit, no matter how hard things got. Dad never quit,” he told an NBC News affiliate in June as he entered hospice care for his disease.

“I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else because of when they get sick,” he said. “You made me come here the day before my 69th round of chemo. I’m going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders.”

Last week, Alvarez gave an impassioned plea calling for congressional action on the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

“We did the right thing when we went down there,” Alvarez said, referring to when he and thousands of others responded to the devastation from the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. “Now it’s the government’s turn to do the right thing by us.”

Alvarez appeared earlier this year alongside Jon Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show,” as he excoriated lawmakers in emotional testimony for failing to attend a September 11th Victim Compensation Fund hearing.

The refunding bill unanimously passed the House panel, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBorder funding bill highlights the problem of ‘the Senate keyhole’ Luis Alvarez, 9/11 first responder who testified alongside Jon Stewart, dies Overnight Defense: Senate rejects effort to restrict Trump on Iran | Democrats at debate vow to shore up NATO | Senate confirms chief of Space Command MORE (R-Ky.) has said the legislation will go to a floor vote in August.

Alvarez’s death was noted on Twitter by prominent New Yorkers including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLuis Alvarez, 9/11 first responder who testified alongside Jon Stewart, dies Trump to allow US companies to sell products to Huawei House holds moment of silence for drowned migrant father and daughter MORE (D-N.Y.) and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) chief of detectives.

“NYPD Detective Lou Alvarez died at peace knowing his life made a difference to others and will save lives in the future. He was a great man. My prayers go to his family, the NYPD, and all who loved him,” Schumer wrote.

“He exemplified the NYPD motto, ‘Fidelis Ad Mortem’ or ‘Faithful Unto Death.’ Detective Lou Alvarez has lost his battle with 9/11-related cancer. An inspiration, a warrior, a friend—we will carry his sword,” added Chief Dermot Shea of the NYPD.

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