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first responders

9/11 first responder, advocate Luis Alvarez dies at 53

Luis Alvarez, a retired New York Police Department bomb squad detective who fought for ailing 9/11 first responders before Congress, died on Saturday at a hospice in New York. He was 53.

Earlier in June, Alvarez, who developed cancer years after working at Ground Zero, delivered what The Washington Post called a "heartbreaking plea to Congress" to extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which provides financial assistance to first responders who developed illnesses.

Alvarez appeared on Capitol Hill alongside former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, another prominent advocate for the fund, on the eve of his 69th round of chemotherapy.

"I should not be here with you, but you made me come," he said during the hearing. "You made me come because I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else."

Alvarez is survived by his wife, three children, mother, and two brothers. Tim O'Donnell