By Sam Roberts
June 29, 2019
Luis G. Alvarez, a former New York City detective who pleaded with Congress this month to extend health benefits to police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, died on Saturday in a hospice in Rockville Centre, N.Y. He was 53.
His family announced his death in a post on Facebook. The cause was complications of colorectal cancer, for which Mr. Alvarez received a diagnosis in 2016. The disease was linked to the three months he had spent at the site of the toppled World Trade Center towers in Lower Manhattan, searching for survivors and for remains of his fellow officers on nearby rooftops and in the toxic rubble at ground zero.
Mr. Alvarez, the father of three sons, including two teenagers, delivered a raspy appeal before a House Judiciary subcommittee in Washington on June 11 to replenish the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
He appeared alongside Jon Stewart, the former host of "The Daily Show," who delivered a passionate call for justice on behalf of the victims.
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The refunding bill passed the full committee unanimously, and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, agreed to allow the legislation to go to a floor vote in August.
"You need to be covered," Mr. Alvarez said in an interview on Fox News a week after his testimony. "I'm lucky to have the health care that I've got, but there are guys out there who don't have it. In terms of going through the stress of fighting cancer, they're also fighting the financial stress of the health care."
Mr. Alvarez in 2007
He added: "I'm no one special, and I did what all the other guys did. Now we are paying the price for it." He continued:
"I got sick 16 years after the fact. And there's workers out there who say, 'This isn't going to happen to me. I'm okay. The time has passed.' The time doesn't ---- is not going to pass."
Before the House committee Mr. Alvarez said: "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. You made me come here the day before my 69th round of chemo. I'm going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders."
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