An NYPD chief has died of 9/11-related brain cancer after a long struggle, officials said Tuesday.
Deputy Chief James Molloy, 55, died Monday night at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip on Long Island with his family by his side. He left behind his wife, Mary Williams Molloy, and two daughters, Christina, 16, and Alexa, 25.
"He was a great husband, the best dad ever, and a role model," Mary Williams Molloy said. "He was courageous in his career, and he was courageous in fighting the illness."
Roy Richter, head of the Captains Endowment Association, said Molloy led the search efforts at Ground Zero for six months following the 9/11 terror attacks.
"Deputy Chief Molloy is as courageous a guy as you can find," he said. "He led search efforts tirelessly at Ground Zero. His dry wit and get-it-done attitude can always be counted upon to effectively respond to constant dangers he and his command faced. All in the department who knew or worked with him held Jim in the highest regard."
About 31 months ago, Molloy began having vision problems and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
He had surgery that appeared to be successful, but the cancer returned, Richter said.
"Being a cop wasn't just an occupation for him," his brother John Molloy said. "He was completely devoted to his work and his family. Many a night, he would get a call in the middle of the night. He was committed 100%."
On Sept. 11, 2001, Molloy was driving to work when authorities stopped traffic through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel as the towers burned.
When they collapsed, massive waves of dust and debris flooded into the tunnel. Molloy, covered in dust, went to Ground Zero and began working right away, his wife said.
John Molloy recalled that his brother once jumped into Jamaica Bay to save a fugitive who had run into the water even though the suspect couldn't swim.
In 1989, at the age of 28, he became the youngest captain in the NYPD and commanded the same precinct that his grandfather had in the 1930s.
Molloy most recently commanded the Queens detectives. Prior to that, he led the Emergency Service Unit.
He joined the NYPD in 1982 and served in a dozen different commands.
Retired Assistant Commissioner Dr. Rob Gonzalez worked under Molloy when Molloy was the commanding officer in the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway.
"In the 90s, Chief Molloy was a young, hard-charging captain that rose through the ranks and was admired by many in the NYPD," he said.
"He had the enthusiasm and energy rarely seen by many in the NYPD and was usually the first to charge in while executing search warrants. A real crime fighter who will be missed by family, friends and colleagues."
Molloy liked to joke around and gently tease friends and family. He loved boating and working on cars, especially his beloved 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle.
"He was all about doing everything right, and he didn't cut corners in any way shape or form," Williams Malloy said. "He enjoyed every single assignment, but he loved working for the Emergency Service Unit. It was very close to his heart."
His viewing is scheduled for Thursday at Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in East Islip.
His funeral will take place Friday (2/3/17) at St. Patrick's Church in Bayshore.