Hundreds gathered on Wednesday morning to mourn the loss of NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez who died from colorectal cancer earlier this week, believed to have been developed during his time working at Ground Zero.
Alvarez died this past weekend in a Rockville Center hospice center.
Alvarez was laid to rest with a memorial service at Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, Queens.
The former NYPD detective, who spent his final days fighting to restore funds to his fellow 9/11 first responders, was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in Queens. Outlets reported that he served in the Marines, before joining NYPD in the 1990s, where he worked in narcotics and then the bomb squad.
The detective suffered from colon cancer, believed to have been brought on from his time pulling victims from the rubble on Sept. 11, 2001. His battle with cancer lasted three years before succumbing to it Saturday at age 53.
Just three weeks ago, Alvarez, along with comedian Jon Stewart, spoke to Congress about extending the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Bill. This bill allows fellow first responded to get the health coverage they need as a result of 9/11 related illnesses.
NBC reports that a day after his powerful testimony, Alvarez’s liver shut down. Doctors told him there was nothing else they could do to the treat the cancer. He was set to begin his 69th round of chemotherapy.
When Alvarez testified before Congress, he told them, “You all said you would never forget. Well, I’m here to make sure that you don’t.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in an effort to keep Alvarez’s legacy alive, told outlets that “we will get the bill passed in his name.”
After Alvarez’s emotional testimony, it was reported that the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted in support of extending the fun until the fiscal year of 2090.
Alvarez told News 4 interview that he was “at peace” with everything and that he was no longer in pain.
Alvarez is survived by his parents, three siblings, wife, and three sons.