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Hero Down: New York Police Department Detective Sammy Lee Succumbs To Cancer

New York, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) Detective Sammy Lee died on Jan. 17 after a battle against liver cancer.

The 38-year-old detective was diagnosed with liver cancer in July of 2022, according to a fundraising page established to help his family.

Det. Lee served the NYPD for nearly 15 years.

He had upwards of about a dozen commendations on his record at the time of his death, and was described by one of his fellow officers as “one of the best guys in the world,” the New York Post reported.

“Everyone liked him,” the law enforcement source told the paper. “Never heard a negative comment about him. Just an all-around great guy.”

He was most recently assigned to the agency’s Intelligence Bureau.

Prior to his career in law enforcement, Det. Lee served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the U.S. Army, the New York Post reported.

Union officials said his cancer was caused by chemicals from the hazardous burn pits he worked withing close proximity to during his military career.

Det. Lee leaves behind his wife and two children, who are one and two years old, the New York Post reported.

“Our hearts are broken as we announce the passing of our brother in blue, Detective Sammy Lee,” Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said in a press release on Jan. 17. “Sammy epitomized courage – whether it was battling his cancer or crime in our city.”

“An Army Veteran who proudly protected America during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sammy’s dedication to the service continued when he joined the NYPD in 2009,” DiGiacomo continued. “The entire union stands in support of his wife and two young children. Sammy is forever in our prayers.”

Det. Lee was laid to rest on Jan. 28, the Detectives’ Endowment Association said in a Facebook post.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Department Detective Sammy Lee, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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