Ray Pfeifer, who is the most dedicated New York City firefighter who suffered from September 11 related cancer for eight years, passed away on Sunday at the age of 59, the department announced.
The retired firefighter found that he was diagnosed with September 11-related cancer after he served for eight months at the World Trade Center site in 2001, searching for survivors kept under the ruins, Fox 5 NY said.
“Ray Pfeifer was a true fighter who bravely battled fires as a New York City Firefighter and fought tirelessly for all first responders who — like him — suffered from World Trade Center-related illness. The entire FDNY family deeply mourns his loss,” Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro wrote on the FDNY Facebook page.
Pfeifer aimed at having the Zadroga Act passed in Congress, a law that dedicates medical care for 9/11 first responders. Moreover, he was appreciated as he received a key to New York City in 2016 for his dedication.
According to PIX11 News, Pfeifer fought for having his name and other first responders who died from 9/11-related cancer a place on the FDNY’s main Wall of Honor.
“I feel that I’m being poisoned, and I’m dying, every single day, because of terrorism,” Pfeifer told PIX11 News.
Pfeifer was open about illness; he used to post updates on his social media account. In January, he counted 2,610 days since he was contracted the illness.
“The facts — 2610 day’s of this f’n cancer and counting. But also 2610 day’s with family and friends!!!!!! Thanks,” Pfeifer wrote along with a photo.
Public figures paying tribute
Twitter was swamped with public figures and politicians paying tribute to late Pfeifer.
“Just learned that Ray Pfeifer has died. You meet very few truly great men in your life. Ray was one of them.,” U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted.
The 56th Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo tweeted, “Saddened to hear of the passing of FDNY firefighter Ray Pfeifer. His tireless advocacy was instrumental in aiding 9/11 first responders.