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Comedian Jon Stewart, center right, applauds retired FDNY firefighter and Sept. 11 first responder Ray Pfeifer after Pfeifer was given a key to the city at New York's City Hall on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Stewart joined New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to honor the cancer-stricken Sept. 11 first responder who helped win a fight for health care. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

A retired New York firefighter has died of cancer linked to 9/11


A heroic firefighter who slept in his truck at Ground Zero for a week after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack, has died of cancer. 

Ray Pfeifer spent eight months searching for his friends after the Twin Towers fell, he previously told CNN.

Pfeifer died Sunday morning at the age of 59. For eight long years, the firefighter had battled stage 4 cancer linked to his work at Ground Zero.

In the years since the terror attack, Pfeifer made dozens of trips to Washington, D.C. working to convince lawmakers to back the Zadroga Act, which guarantees medical care for 9/11 first responders, survivors and recovery workers. 

The act was passed in 2010 and was extended in 2015. 

Pfeifer was honored with a key to New York City last year because of his work to help get the bill passed.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his condolences Sunday.

Pfeifer spent his last days in hospice care, suffering from brain cancer as well as cancer in his nodules, lungs and adrenal glands, according to New York's PIX 11.

Pfeifer leaves behind a wife, daughter and a son who signed on as a member of an FDNY EMS Station. 

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and the FDNY, among others, reacted to the news of his death on social media Sunday. 

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