Former New York City detective Luis Alvarez, who was a first responder in the 9/11 attacks, has died aged 53.
Luis passed away today (June 29) in a hospice in Rockville Centre, N.Y. while surrounded by family. He died from complications of colorectal cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2016.
The disease was linked to his time spent at the site of the World Trade Center following 9/11, where he spent three months searching for survivors and bodies in the rubble.
Retired Det. Lou Alvarez was a great cop — fearless & committed. Until his last breath, Lou fought for his fellow 9/11 responders, calling on law makers to do what’s right. He showed the world what it means to #NeverForget & that will forever be his courageous legacy. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/MwBzIcB81H
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) June 29, 2019
The 53-year-old’s family announced the news in a statement which was shared on Facebook.
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.” 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!
Luis recently appeared alongside the former host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, to encourage Congress to extend health benefits to police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers who responded to the September 11 attacks.
Speaking before the House committee, Luis said:
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.
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.
Here’s the standing ovation Lou Alvarez received after testifying before Congress to #Renew911VCF. Notice lawmakers are standing too. The 52yr old retired #NYPD testified WHEN a responder gets sick shouldn’t impact his payout. Alvarez has colon cancer. @wcbs880 #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/2Qx0ox5VCz
— Peter Haskell (@peterhaskell880) June 12, 2019
Lawmakers went on to vote unanimously in favour of the bill to extend the funding.
While the 53-year-old was set to begin chemotherapy the day after appearing in front of Congress, The New York Times reports he was too disoriented to receive treatment and tests determined his liver was failing.
Within a week, he was admitted to the hospice on Long Island.
Luis was born in October 1965 in Queens and joined the New York Police Department in 1990. He was initially assigned to the 108th Precinct in Long Island City but was transferred to the Narcotics Division and promoted to detective two years later.
The former detective was recognised five times for excellent police work. He retired in 2010.
A hero among heros. Please keep Detective Lou Alvarez, stricken with 9/11-related cancer, in your thoughts and prayers as he enters hospice care. In his words, “Still here, still breathing, still fighting.” pic.twitter.com/ZYiJobbU6d
— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) June 20, 2019
He is survived by his mother, Aida; his wife, Lanie Alvarez; his sons, David, Tyler and Ben; and his brothers, Fernando and Phil.
Our thoughts are with Luis’ friends and family at this sad time.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.