Luis Alvarez, 9/11 first responder who testified before Congress, has died

Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Luis Alvarez, the terminally ill 9/11 first responder who gave an emotional plea in front of Congress before going into hospice care, has died. He was 53.

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Alvarez, a former New York Police Department bomb squad detective, spoke with comedian and activist Jon Stewart earlier in June to ensure money for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund would be available to provide medical support for himself and thousands of others.

Shortly after, he went into hospice care, where he continued to advocate for other first responders. Officials say there are about 95,000 other first responders who are sick.

Alvarez spent about three months after 9/11 searching for victims in the rubble of the World Trade towers. During that time, he inhaled cement dust, asbestos and other chemicals that led to his cancer, which was diagnosed in 2016.

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved money for the fund through 2090.

“An inspiration, a warrior, a friend — we will carry his sword,” police Chief Dermot F. Shea said on social media.

"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," his family told CNN. "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."

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