New York City Police Department—77th Precinct said in a statement that New York City Police Officer Raymond Harris, a gentleman, a pillar of strength, a voice of reason, a hero, died from a 9/11-related illness on Sunday, Aug. 4, according to Law Enforcement Today.

Veteran police officer Raymond Harris had been working for the NYPD since his appointment to the 77th Precinct in 1990.

He worked tirelessly in the wreckage following the attacks on the Twin Towers in Sept. 11 2001, and has been battling the medical ailments that came along with it ever since.

“After the attacks of 9/11, like thousands of other heroic and dedicated officers, Officer Harris was exposed to the toxic dust and debris that blanketed lower Manhattan and blew across the region. Little did he know, this toxic brew would eventually cost Ray his life,” NYPD 77th Precinct said in a statement.

His symptoms began developing in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2009 that Harris was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease affecting multiple organs but predominantly the lungs.

“Unfortunately for my husband it spread through his body like cancer,” Harris’s wife, LaSharn Harris, said.

“He said to me that day, I need to let go and I need my dignity. Please don’t strip me from my dignity. I had to make the hardest decision of my life and I had to tell him he was ok,” she talked about the moments before his last breath.

“The effects of 9/11 would go on to ravage Ray’s body in unimaginable ways but Ray fought this horrible disease for years, proclaiming to the world that he would fight until he won. He fought, and fought hard until the very end,” a post from the NYPD read.

Harris spent the last 265 days in a hospital before finally letting go. 

Funeral services for Officer Raymond Harris will be held on Saturday, August 10 at Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

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