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9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez enters hospice care after cancer fight

Luis Alvarez underwent 68 rounds of chemotherapy, but there's "nothing else the doctors can do to fight the cancer," he has announced.
Image: Former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart Testifies On Need To Reauthorize The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
Retired New York Police Department detective Luis Alvarez urges lawmakers to reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which provides financial assistance to responders, victims and their families who need medical care related to health issues they suffered after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.Zach Gibson / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Luis Alvarez, the retired New York Police Department detective who hauntingly testified alongside Jon Stewart at a hearing to ensure 9/11 first responders keep getting health benefits, has started hospice care.

There “is nothing else the doctors can do to fight the cancer,” Alvarez announced on his Facebook page Wednesday.

“Now I’m resting and I’m at peace. I will continue to fight until the Good Lord decides it’s time.”

Alvarez appeared before a House subcommittee on June 11, telling lawmakers he was scheduled to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy the next day.

In 2016, Alvarez was diagnosed with colorectal cancer that had spread to his liver, his son told the New York Daily News. The illness was linked to his work at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

He’d been getting chemo every two weeks, but the regimen — as brutal as it had been — had bought him time with his family that many other stricken responders weren't able to get, Alvarez explained, calling himself "lucky."

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As he was about to receive his latest round of chemo after his trip to Washington last week, the nurse noticed he was disoriented, Alvarez wrote on Facebook.

Tests showed his liver “had completely shut down because of the tumors and wasn’t cleaning out the toxins” in his body, leading to rising ammonia levels and causing the disorientation, he wrote.

“I’m still here and still fighting,” Alvarez said in a message to his supporters.

When the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, he raced to the scene and worked at Ground Zero for weeks afterward, searching roof tops for victims, his family told the New York Daily News.

His story and powerful testimony to help his fellow 9/11 first responders — showing up on Capitol Hill even as he was gravely ill — prompted hundreds of messages of support on the TODAY Facebook page.