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Ray Pfeifer, firefighter, voice for 9/11 health care, dies

May 29, 2017 GMT

              FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2016, file photo, retired Fire Department of New York firefighter and Sept. 11 first responder Ray Pfeifer attends ceremonies where he received the key to the city at New York's City Hall. Pfeifer, who spent months at the World Trade Center site digging through debris and then fought for health care for first responders even when wracked with late-stage cancer, died Sunday, May 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)
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FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2016, file photo, retired Fire Department of New York firefighter and Sept. 11 first responder Ray Pfeifer attends ceremonies where he received the key to the city at New York's City Hall. Pfeifer, who spent months at the World Trade Center site digging through debris and then fought for health care for first responders even when wracked with late-stage cancer, died Sunday, May 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)
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FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2016, file photo, retired Fire Department of New York firefighter and Sept. 11 first responder Ray Pfeifer attends ceremonies where he received the key to the city at New York's City Hall. Pfeifer, who spent months at the World Trade Center site digging through debris and then fought for health care for first responders even when wracked with late-stage cancer, died Sunday, May 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A retired New York City firefighter who spent months at the World Trade Center site digging through debris and then fought for health care for first responders even when wracked with late-stage cancer has died.

The Fire Department of New York said Raymond Pfeifer died Sunday morning after an 8-year fight with the disease. He was 59.

Pfeifer was among those who lobbied fiercely for the renewal of the Zadroga Act, which provides health benefits to first responders who fell ill after the Sept. 11 attacks. Another fervent supporter of the renewal was comedian Jon Stewart.

Stewart was among those lauding Pfeifer in January 2016, when he was presented with a key to the city by Mayor Bill de Blasio.