A former New York Police Department detective has died after campaigning to extend compensation for those who suffered injury, illness or trauma due to the 9/11 attacks.
Luiz Alvarez, 53, underwent 68 rounds of chemotherapy to fight cancer caused by toxic exposure at Ground Zero.
He spoke at a congressional hearing on 11 June in support of a bill to extend medical funding from 2020 to 2090.
Alverez said the fund was not “a ticket to paradise”.
Appearing alongside comedian Jon Stewart, he said the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) was “there to provide for our families when we can’t”.
On 19 June, Alverez posted on Facebook that he would be entering a hospice due to liver failure.
“I’m resting and I’m at peace,” he said. “I will continue to fight until the Good Lord decides it’s time.”
He said he would try to do more interviews to “keep a light” on the fight for VCF benefits.
“Please take care of yourselves and each other,” he concluded.
Chief of Detectives at New York Police Department, Dermot F Shea, posted on Twitter that Alvarez was “an inspiration, a warrior, a friend”.
The lasting impact of 9/11
As of September 2018, 2,000 deaths were attributed to 9/11 related illness. By the end of 2018, many estimate that more people will have died from toxic exposures than were actually killed in the attack.
UP to 80,000 people including firemen, police officers, emergency workers, contractors and cleaning staff rushed to help victims of the attacks.
Toxic debris in the air, such as asbestos, lead and pulverized concrete put them at risk of disease.
The congressional panel voted in favour of the bill and now moves to the US House of Representatives for a full vote.
Jon Stewart said it was “shameful” that many lawmakers did not attend to hear testimonies from first responders at the hearing on 11 June.