The Washington Blade reports that 41-year-old Phillip Curtis McKee III, a Virginia firefighter who was among the heroic first responders on the scene at the Pentagon after the terrorist attack on 9/11, died last month in Virginia:
Family members attribute McKee's death to complications from injuries and illness linked to three days of fighting the Pentagon fire following the 9/11 attack, including inhalation of toxic dust, a severe leg injury that resulted in him being wheel chair bound, and a prolonged bout of post-traumatic stress disorder.
McKee's husband and partner of 15 years, Nopadon McKee, said the injuries forced Phillip McKee to retire from his job as a firefighter due to disability. Although he displayed "tremendous courage" in persevering as an artist, businessman, and author over the next 12 years, the injuries and his struggle with PTSD took its toll, Nopadon McKee said.
"He succumbed to his injuries," a statement released by the family says.
Thanks to a 2006 marriage discrimination amendment, Phillip and Nopadon are legal strangers in the eyes of the State of Virginia.