A funeral is to be held Wednesday for the former New York City police detective who was a leader in the fight for the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, in which he'll be given a hero’s goodbye.
Detective Luis Alvarez appeared with former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart last month to plead with Congress to extend the compensation fund.
Alvarez, who died Saturday of colorectal cancer, was admitted to a hospice within days of his testimony.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Monday afternoon: “This city can never repay its debt to Detective Lou Alvarez. It will be my honor to award him with a posthumous Key to the City as a symbol of our profound respect and gratitude for his service and sacrifice.”
Alvarez spent three months in the World Trade Center rubble after the 2001 attacks.
Alvarez had discovered he was going into liver failure after finishing his 69th round of chemotherapy, and gave his last-ever interview on "Shepard Smith Reporting."
Alvarez told Smith he had no regrets, and was simply doing his job on the day of the attacks.
"I have no regrets -- no regrets whatsoever," he said. "9/11 happened. We got called down. It's my job as an NYPD detective to respond to emergencies. So, no hesitation. We went down, spent about three months down there doing the bucket brigade, doing rooftop detail, trying to find remains. I did what every other FDNY, NYPD, EMS worker -- everybody. I'm nobody special. I did what all the other guys did. And now we're paying the price for it."
Researchers continue to study potential links between responders’ illnesses and toxins from the cleanup.
The bill to replenish the fund that provides compensation to those responders passed a congressional committee unanimously.
His funeral will be held at the Immaculate Conception Church in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.