Luis Alvarez, a former New York City detective and advocate for the benefits of 9/11 victims, has tragically passed away just weeks after testifying before Congress.
The 53-year-old hero worked at ground zero during 9/11 and in the weeks and months following. He never stopped fighting for what was right… and after a long battle with cancer, Alvarez passed away in hospice care on Saturday.
Former department members said Alvarez perfectly exemplified the NYPD motto, “Fidelis Ad Mortem” or “Faithful Unto Death.”
The world learned of Alvarez’s death after Chief Dermot F. Shea, the New York Police Department‘s chief of detectives, posted to Twitter. Shea said that the hero’s death was due to 9/11-related cancer.
Alvarez was a former Marine and 20-year veteran of the NYPD.
He exemplified the NYPD motto, “Fidelis Ad Mortem” or “Faithful Unto Death.” Detective Lou Alvarez has lost his battle with 9/11-related cancer. An inspiration, a warrior, a friend—we will carry his sword. https://t.co/utRphj7owx
— Chief Rodney Harrison (@NYPDDetectives) June 29, 2019
An inspiration, a warrior, a friend—we will carry his sword,” Shea tweeted.
Comparing the images of Alvarez from just a few years ago and when he testified before Congress showed the devastating effects of the 9/11-related illness that so many emergency responders have succumbed to or been diagnosed with since those fateful days in 2001.
Alvarez testified with a number of other victims in front of a panel of politicians last month when the 9/11 victims compensation fund was running out of funding. On June 11, Alvarez joined former Daily Show host Jon Stewart in an emotional round of real and raw testimony, where first responders demanded that the government take care of the men and women who worked so hard in the face of a national tragedy.
He pleaded with politicians to do the right thing… supporting the families of more victims after they were no longer on this earth.
“This fund is not a ticket to paradise, it’s there to provide to our families when we aren’t there,” Alvarez said in his testimony in June.
To our hero, retired Detective Luis Alvarez, thank you for all you have done for us. You are an inspiration to all and we will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers. Let’s show Lou our support because “in this family, no one fights alone!” pic.twitter.com/JLZfONmxSi
— NYPD 61st Precinct (@NYPD61Pct) June 21, 2019
The new measure would provide automatic funding for the victims of the long-lasting effects that stemmed from working on Ground Zero in the time following the collapse of the towers. Emergency responders were subjected to toxic dust and rubble that has caused the sickness and death of thousands – eventually surpassing the death count associated with the original attacks.
The day after Alvarez’s testimony, the bill that permanently authorizes funding for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was passed unanimously by the House panel. It is expected to pass the full House vote.
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) June 29, 2019
ABC News reported that Alvarez was tasked with the cleanup of the area, rifling through rubble and picking through waste material. He was later diagnosed with cancer.
This month, Alvarez reportedly underwent his 69th chemotherapy treatment before eventually succumbing to the illness.
The Alvarez family posted a message on social media with a request that we remember Alvarez — and what he stood for.
“Please remember his words, “Please take care of yourselves and each other,” the statement read.
The family said that Alvarez would be fondly remembered as a “warrior” who “had won this battle by the many lives he had touched by sharing his three year battle.”
Luis Alvarez was 53-years-old. He is gone, but his heroic actions and legacy of fighting for what’s right will never die.