NEW YORK -- A retired NYPD detective who died of cancer related to his work at ground zero and fought for continued benefits for other 9/11 responders was honored Tuesday at City Hall.
Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a key to the city to Lainie Alvarez, the widow of Detective Luis Alvarez, who passed away in June.
He spent the final months of his life fighting for the continued funding of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, testifying before Congress just weeks before his death.
His fellow advocates spoke at the ceremony Tuesday.
"My heart's full of joy for the Alvarez family but it's also filled with sorrow," said 9/11 first responder John Feal. "Lainie, Phil, David, I'm so sorry. I kind of feel selfish that I took him away from you guys so we can get a bill passed."
"Luis Alvarez was a portrait in courage. He never stopped fighting for his brothers and sisters who came to the aid of our city on our darkest days-even until the very end," said Mayor de Blasio. "Today, we honor a life of extraordinary service, and pledge to never forget the sacrifices he made on behalf of his fellow New Yorkers. His legacy lives on in all of us."
Comedian Jon Stewart, who vocally backed the cause of helping 9/11 responders, also delivered a message at the ceremony.
Alvarez is survived by his parents, wife, three sons and three siblings.