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9/11 First Responder Who Appeared Before Congress With Jon Stewart Dies At 53

John Stewart and Luis Alvarez

9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez, former New York Police Department detective who last month pleaded alongside comedian John Stewart in Congress for health insurance for 9/11 responders died Saturday. He was 53.

Alvarez, who joined the NYPD in 1990 and became a top champion of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund year, had entered a hospice center a week after his appearance with Stewart.

“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,” the family wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Please remember his words, ‘Please take care of yourselves and each other.'”

The family added: “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. 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!”

Alvarez had been undergoing chemotherapy, completing his 69th round earlier this month, he said during his June 11 testimony with Stewart.

In an impassioned appearance, Stewart lambasted Congress for not acting to reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, created after the attacks for medical and economic losses. The fund is running out of money and is being forced to make drastic cuts to its payments to 9/11 victims and their families unless it is reauthorized.

New York Police commissioner James O’Neill issued a statement lauding Alvarez’s legacy.

“Our NYPD family & all 1st responders mourn as we remember retired NYPD Bomb Squad Det. Luis Alvarez, who passed this morning. His strength – physical, mental & emotional – led us all, & we vow to #NeverForget him or his legacy — which was, simply, to have others do what’s right.”

Related: 9/11 First Responders Just Exposed Lindsey Graham And Mitch McConnell: ‘We’re Just Not Going To Take Your Crap!’

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