OCEANSIDE, NY — Hundreds attended a Long Island wake Tuesday in honor of retired NYPD Detective and 9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez.
Alvarez, who died Saturday of colorectal cancer, spent three months in the World Trade Center rubble after the 2001 attacks. His family is asking people to remember him by something he would always say: “take care of each other and take care of yourselves.”
His son spoke to reporters outside of Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside.
“Before he became a hero across this country, he was always mine, a man I looked up to," Alvarez’s son David said. "He inspired me. He taught me to be the man I am and hold my head up high."
As New Yorkers and many across the country are remembering the first responder a warrior, Alvarez’s son is remembering him as his father.
“This brave man was a steadfast, stubborn man who, despite 69 rounds of chemo, continued to fight and use what voice he could to get his message across.”
Alvarez was also a US Marine and a man who became the face of NYC’s ailing 9/11 first responders.
“Lou was a very quiet humble person and he was the first to help anyone at work or during his off time," said fellow retired NYPD bomb squad detective Brian Senft.
Alvarez, who was just 53, died over the weekend from colon cancer which he developed while crawling through rubble at ground zero trying to save any life he could.
Last month, a frail Alvarez gave an emotional plea on Capitol Hill to Congress to keep theSept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund going, firing up former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart too.
The next day, he went into hospice care.
“We hope and pray that congress and the senate heard his message and that he will have died a happy man for his efforts,” said his brother Phillip Alvarez.
Before NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio attended Alvarez’s wake Tuesday, he appeared on the PIX11 Morning News.
“Luis Alvarez, was a true New York hero and I’ll be honored to give the key to the city to his family,” de Blasio said.
Now, as the house is expected to vote in July to permanently extend the fund, Alvarez’s family says they will always remember him as a husband, father, brother, son and a guy who stood up for what he believed in, even during his dying days.
“He was just a regular guy that loved his friends, and his family even more, we’re sad but at peace because he was at peace,” said his brother.
Alvarez will be laid to rest at the Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria Queens Wednesday at 10 a.m.