It’s an iconic photo from September 11th, 2001: people running for their lives as the south tower of the World Trade Center collapses behind them. One man in the photo, Stephen Cooper, was in downtown Manhattan delivering an envelope that can be seen in the photo.
He survived, and lived for 19 years before recently succumbing to COVID-19.
"As he was walking, that's when the policeman said, 'You gotta run,'" said Cooper's longtime partner Janet Rashes.
Rashes said Cooper suffered heart issues possibly due to health trouble after 9/11, which caused underlying conditions that put him in a vulnerable group.
"He passed away, without anybody but the nurses and the doctors," Rash said. "It's very, very upsetting to me. There was no closure."
Rash said that Cooper would carry around the iconic photo in his wallet to tell the story of that harrowing day.
"When I photographed it, I wanted to sort of show that moment in time," said AP photographer Suzanne Plunkett. "I have wondered about him through the years. I'm glad that I, at least, was in his presence for a split second and we shared a bit of history together."
"He was just a very, very wonderful man," Rashes said. "Liked by a lot of people."