9/11 Hero Lou Alvarez Dies of Cancer at 53

June 29, 2019 - 12:21 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Retired NYPD Detective Lou Alvarez has died of 9/11-related cancer at age 53.

Alvarez became the face of the battle for a renewed 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund when he testified with comedian Jon Stewart at an emotional Congressional hearing earlier this month.



"You all said you would never forget, well I'm here to make sure that you don't," Alvarez told members of the House Judiciary Committee, which unanimously passed the bill the next day.

Alvarez's final trip to Capitol Hill came a day before he was scheduled to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy. But his treatment was called off after a nurse noticed he was disoriented. Tests later revealed that his liver had completely shut down and there was nothing else doctors could do for him.

Last week from hospice, he told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell his mission was to get the bill passed.

In a final selfless act, Alvarez asked that his NYPD badge be given to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to convince the Kentucky Republican to renew the compensation fund.

More than 40,000 people have applied to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and more than $5 billion in benefits have been awarded to date. The fund is set to run out of money by 2020.

The full House is expected to pass the bill next month and after meeting with 9/11 first responders last Tuesday, McConnell agreed to call a Senate vote soon after that. A replenished fund would mean responders and survivors will receive payments for 9/11 related illnesses or death.

"The fight that he has put up we hope will forever inspire his sons to see that their father pushed through something that they started no matter how difficult it was," Alvarez's brother, Phil, said.



Alvarez worked a bucket brigade in the pit at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. He was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer two years ago.

Alvarez leaves behind a wife, three sons, his parents and three siblings.