NYPD officer Michael Hance, who went viral in 2015 after he twerked at the New York City Pride parade, has died at the age of 44.

The father-of-two passed away on Sunday (12 March) after battling brain cancer thought to be related to his work at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

Michael, who identified as straight, became a symbol of LGBT progress in 2015 when footage of him enthusiastically dancing with a Pride marcher to the sound of Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ went viral online.

His dance with Aaron Santis, a member of the LGBT Big Apple Softball League was seen as emblematic of the improved relationship between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community in New York City and the US in general.

The veteran officer was diagnosed with cancer last November. He had been part of the team of “bucket brigade” of volunteers who hauled debris out of the ruins of the World Trade Center following the terror attacks on 11 September 2001.

It has been estimated that thousands first responders, recovery and cleanup workers who worked at the site of the 9/11 attacks have developed cancers in the years since linked to their exposure to toxic material released during the Twin Towers’ destruction.

Michael’s funeral is set to take place this Saturday, while a A GoFundMe that was was created just days before his death to help with medical expenses has since amassed over $25,000 in donations.

Relive the New York hero’s starring moment at Pride below:

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