New York Daily News

Updated: July 20, 2017, 7:52 PM

  

 

'Heroic' retired NYPD cop dies from 9/11-linked cancer weeks after Ground Zero illness claimed another officer

BY LARRY MCSHANE

Retired NYPD Officer Robert Summers (l. with coffee) died of 9/11-related cancer on Tuesday.  (FAMILY HANDOUT)

“He was a great guy,” his brother Chris told the Daily News. “He had friends around the world. He loved to help people, and people loved him. He was one of those rare guys who connected instantly with everybody he met.”

Summers, assigned to the NYPD traffic division, was working downtown when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

He immediately headed from his post to the site that would become known as Ground Zero, and stayed for weeks at the toxic 16-acre plot.

Summers retired in February 2007 after 20 years on the job, moving from his native Long Island to the Florida Keys. But he returned to New York two years ago, after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer, his brother said.

He had a kidney removed and was fine until going in for knee surgery earlier this year. Doctors discovered the cancer had spread, according to Chris Summers.

“It was like a time bomb ticking, and you don’t even know it,” his sibling said.

Summers worked at Ground Zero for weeks.  (FAMILY HANDOUT)

A funeral for Summers, the son of an NYPD detective, is set for Friday at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, L.I.

Last month, retired NYPD Detective William Kinane, 60, died of a 9/11-related illness. More NYPD members have now passed away from 9/11-linked ailments than were killed on the day of the attacks.

By the end of 2016, the NYPD reported 132 deaths linked to the toxic site. On 9/11, 23 city police officers were killed.

Summers pictured with his wife, Jody Krieger Summers.   (FAMILY HANDOUT)

“Like countless others, Bob Summers’ heroic deeds continued long past the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero to his own struggle for breath on his living room couch,” said NYPD union President Patrick Lynch.

“He has earned the respect and prayers of the city and nation. May he rest in peace.”

WITH THOMAS TRACY