A 9/11 first responder who testified alongside Jon Stewart and called on lawmakers to keep money going into a fund for victims suffering from illnesses related to the terror attacks has entered hospice care.
Luis Alvarez, a retired New York City police detective who was diagnosed with cancer 16 years after the attacks, gave what he called a "final interview" to FOX News on Thursday.
Alvarez's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee succeeded Stewart's last week. The comedian had scolded Congress on June 11 for failing to ensure the set up of a 9/11 victims' compensation fund that never runs out of money.
The day after his trip to Washington, Alvarez had his 69th round of chemotherapy scheduled. Alvarez explained in a Facebook post Tuesday that when he went to chemo a nurse noticed he was disoriented and, after a few tests, realized his liver had completely shut down because of tumors. Alvarez says he is in hospice and that the complications following his visit to Washington are just a coincidence.
The threat of the victims' fund being depleted came after the Justice Department announced it would be cutting payouts by up to 70% in an effort to keep the money available in the future.
Stewart testified in support of firefighters, police, other first responders and survivors. The entertainer and activist used the time on Capitol Hill, and his friend Stephen Colbert's late-night TV show Monday, to pressure Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to pass legislation to replenish the fund.
McConnell responded saying lawmakers have never failed to address the issue. "I don’t know why he’s all bent out of shape but we will take care of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund," he said.
Alvarez told Fox News he considered himself lucky, to have lived so long after 9/11 before getting cancer. "I've been blessed. I got sick 16 years after the fact," Alvarez explained.
He is also quoted as saying, "We were told the air was safe down there and it wasn't. But you know what, that doesn't matter. Because we would have went in anyway. Because that's what we do. It's not a job for us. It's a calling.