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Retired 'hero' 9/11 firefighter Bob Beckwith, who posed for photo at Ground Zero with President Bush, dies

Former New York City firefighter Bob Beckwith, remembered for returning to service to search for survivors on 9/11, has died at the age of 91, the Uniformed Firefighters Association said.

Beckwith, who had already retired before Sept. 11, 2001, "suited back up" after the terror attacks and "raced toward the danger to save and search for others," former President George W. Bush said in a statement Monday.

Beckwith is remembered for standing next to Bush in an iconic photo on the rubble of the World Trade Center in the days after 9/11.

PHOTO: President George W. Bush speaks to rescue workers, firefighters and police officers from the rubble of Ground Zero September 14, 2001 in New York City. (Eric Draper/White House/Getty Images)
PHOTO: President George W. Bush speaks to rescue workers, firefighters and police officers from the rubble of Ground Zero September 14, 2001 in New York City. (Eric Draper/White House/Getty Images)

MORE: Sept. 11 victim's remains newly identified through DNA testing

The former firefighter was 69 years old at the time of 9/11. Beckwith served 29 years in the FDNY and retired in 1994, according to the fire department.

"His courage represented the defiant, resilient spirit of New Yorkers and Americans after 9/11," Bush said. "I was proud to have Bob by my side at Ground Zero days later and privileged to stay in touch with this patriot over the years. Laura and I send our condolences to Barbara and the Beckwith family as they remember this decent, humble man."

The Uniformed Firefighters Association said Beckwith "is one of the heroes of 9/11 who stood tall for America, New York City and all New Yorkers."

"Bob Beckwith was one of many retired FDNY members who responded to the World Trade Center site in the days and months following September 11, to aid in rescue and recovery, as a testament to their devotion to their FDNY family," New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said in a statement. "His iconic picture with President Bush captured a moment that was both inspiring and heartbreaking. We are grateful to his service to our city and our nation, and we join his family and friends in mourning his loss."

Retired 'hero' 9/11 firefighter Bob Beckwith, who posed for photo at Ground Zero with President Bush, dies originally appeared on abcnews.go.com