A retired FDNY lieutenant and first responder died Sunday from a 9/11-related cancer, becoming the 20th firefighter this year to succumb to an illness linked to the 2001 terror attack.
Lt. Edward McDonagh, a 49-year-old father of five from Rockland County, battled stage 4 colon cancer for the past three years. The former Marine joined the FDNY in 1996 and spent three months working on the pile at ground zero after 9/11, the New York Daily News reported.
He was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2014 and retired from the FDNY in July 2016. His final assignment was with Engine 37 in Harlem, a department spokesman told the Daily News.
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“He never let cancer define him,” his wife, Kimberly, told the paper. “For three and a half years we took trips, celebrated life and made memories.”
McDonagh is the 164th FDNY firefighter to die from a 9/11-related sickness. In total, there were 11,524 first responders who arrived at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 or worked at ground zero after the attack.
McDonagh’s services will begin Saturday at Michael J. Higgins Funeral Home in New City, Rockland County, and his funeral mass will be held Monday morning at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Nyack.
He is survived by his wife and five children ranging from ages 6 to 20.