Retired Detective Luis Alvarez, who was committed to spreading awareness about the plights of fellow 9/11 first responders, has died. The NYPD veteran died on Saturday after battling cancer for several years following his courageous and unselfish acts on September 11th. Lou Alvarez was only 53-years-old when he died in a hospice in New York.
The Alvarez family issued a statement on Lou’s passing that 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.”
“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,” the statement on Facebook said. “He was at peace with that, surrounded by family. Thank you for giving us this time we have had with him, it was a blessing!”
Earlier this month, despite having only weeks to live, a frail Alvarez went to Washington D.C. to testify in a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing for an extension of the fund for police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers who became sick after working at Ground Zero.
On June 11, Luis Alvarez spoke in front of the House committee along with Jon Stewart in an effort to expand the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
“You made me come here the day before my 69th round of chemo,” Alvarez told Congress. “I’m going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders.”
“We were there with one mission, and we left after completing that mission,” he said. “I have been to many places in this world and done many things, but I can tell you that I did not want to be anywhere else but Ground Zero when I was there.”
“Now that the 9/11 illnesses have taken many of us, we are all worried about our children and spouses and our families if we are not here,” Alvarez pleaded as he rallied to get an extension for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), which is running out of money because so many first responders have gotten sick.
“I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else because of when they get sick,” Alvarez said. The brave New York Police Department veteran received a standing ovation for his testimony.
The death of the retired NYPD bomb squad detective is linked to complications of cancer linked to his selfless act of helping others and searching for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center at Ground Zero following the terror attacks on 9/11.
On June 20, only days after giving emotional testimony before Congress, Alvarez announced that he needed to be admitted to a hospice because doctors could no longer treat his cancer.
“I’m now in hospice, because (there) is nothing else the doctors can do to fight the cancer,” Alvarez wrote in a Facebook post the following week.
Alvarez’s liver had completely shut down because of his tumors.
“So now I’m resting and I’m at peace. I will continue to fight until the Good Lord decides it’s time,” Lou wrote. “I will try to do a few more interviews to keep a light on our fight for the VCF benefits we all justly deserve. Please take care of yourselves and each other.”
The day after Alvarez and Stewart spoke, the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to reauthorize the fund.
Many paid their respects to the fallen hero.