Luis Alvarez, a former New York City police detective, who was a leader in the fight for the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund died Saturday at age 53.
Detective Luis Alvarez’s death from cancer was announced by Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, who tweeted that Alvarez was “an inspiration, a warrior, a friend.”
Alvarez appeared with former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart earlier this month to plead with Congress to extend the compensation fund.
“This fund isn’t a ticket to paradise, it’s to provide our families with care,” a frail Alvarez told a House Judiciary subcommittee on June 11. He added, “You all said you would never forget. Well, I’m here to make sure that you don’t.”
Alvarez was admitted to a hospice in Rockville Centre on Long Island within a few days of his testimony.
The bill to replenish the compensation fund that provides health benefits to police officers, firefighters and others who responded to the 2001 terrorist attacks passed the full committee unanimously.
More than 40,000 people have applied to the compensation fund which covers illnesses potentially related to being at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon or Shanksville, Penn., after the 2001 attacks, Fox News reported. More than $5 billion in benefits have been awarded out of the $7.4 billion fund, with about 21,000 claims pending.
Alvarez’s survivors include his wife, his three sons, his parents and three siblings. The family said in a Facebook post that Alvarez touched many lives by sharing his battle with cancer. “Thank you for giving us this time we have had with him, it was a blessing,” the post said.
“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,” the family said. “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,” according to Fox News.
Alvarez was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2016. He traced his illness to the three months he spent in the rubble of the World Trade Center’s twin towers after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
About 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. It is expected to kill 51,000 people in the U.S. this year, making it the second most common type of fatal cancer.
This article was edited by TheBL.