A retired U.S. police Detective, Lou Alvarez, who gave what remained of his life and even his badge to the cause of ailing September 11 first responders has died.
The retired New York Police Detective Alvarez, (NYPD) lost his fight against cancer linked to the 2001 terrorist attacks, his family announced on Saturday.
Alvarez stunned members of the U.S. Congress when he testified alongside comedian Jon Stewart earlier this month about the still-unfolding tragedy of the illnesses ravaging responders who toiled in the ruins of the World Trade Centre.
Frail and gaunt, he told them that their failure to pass permanent legislation to compensate responders and victims had forced him to make the difficult journey to Washington, a day before what would have been his 69th session of chemotherapy.
A House committee passed legislation the next day to permanently extend the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCP).
“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,” his family said in a statement.
“Please remember his words, ‘Please take care of yourselves and each other.’”
“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,” the statement said.
His fellow responders carried his badge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week, hoping it would help convince the Kentucky Republican to advance the legislation.
“He was at peace with that, surrounded by family,” the family said in its statement.
Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who has pressed for passage of the VCP legislation, said on Saturday:
“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.”
“Our NYPD family and all 1st responders mourn as we remember retired NYPD Bomb Squad Detective Luis Alvarez, who passed this morning.
“His strength – physical, mental and emotional – led us all, and we vow to #NeverForget him or his legacy – which was, simply, to have others do what’s right,” said New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill
“Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea called Alvarez a “warrior.”
“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,” Shea said.