Michael Hance, the NYPD officer who went viral when video of him dancing at the 2015 New York City Pride Parade was uploaded online, passed away on Sunday after losing his battle with brain cancer.
Hance’s obituary indicated the 17-year police veteran was a first responder at the World Trade Center attacks on September 11. The New York Daily News reports his illness may have been connected to exposure to harmful elements at the site. (In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had tracked more than 5,400 people diagnosed with cancers linked to the 9/11 attacks.)
A GoFundMe campaign established before Hance’s death to help pay medical bills described him as “a true family man” whose greatest joy was his two daughters.
During the parade Hance grinded with Aaron Santis, a member of New York’s LGBT softball league, to Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough.” At a time when trust in police was damaged by ongoing incidents of violence and discrimination, it helped bridge the gap between authorities and an often persecuted minority group.
“I was as impressed as I was happy,” Brian Downey, the president of the NYPD’s Gay Officers Action League, told the Daily News. “He isn’t a member of GOAL or the LGBT community, but we were elated to see that video. It represented the true spirit of the police family. That’s what 99.5% of cops are like.”