A famous 9/11 survivor has died from the coronavirus. Picture: AP
A famous 9/11 survivor has died from the coronavirus. Picture: AP

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

A man made famous by a photo that captured him running away as the south World Trade Centre tower collapsed during the 9/11 crisis has just died from coronavirus.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Stephen Cooper, an electrical engineer who lived in both New York and Florida's Delray Beach.

He died on March 28 at Delray Medical Center because of complications brought on by COVID-19.

Mr Cooper was 78.

People have since put together that Mr Cooper was the very same man in the iconic photo, which captures civilians' fear and confusion at the height of the terrorist attack.

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Mr Cooper (left) is pictured in this famous photo during the 9/11 catastrophe. Picture: AP
Mr Cooper (left) is pictured in this famous photo during the 9/11 catastrophe. Picture: AP

The photo has become synonymous with the tragic incident that occurred on September 11 2001.

An Associated Press photographer took the image, and it was published in newspapers and magazines around the world.

The photo is also featured at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.

"He (Mr Cooper) didn't even know the photograph was taken," said Janet Rashes, Cooper's partner for 33 years.

"All of a sudden, he's looking in Time magazine one day and he sees himself and says, 'Oh my God. That's me.'

"He was amazed. Couldn't believe it."

Susan Gould, a longtime friend, said Cooper was proud of the photo, purchasing multiple copies of Time and handing them out "like a calling card."

She said Cooper shrank a copy of the photo, laminated it, and kept it in his wallet.

Family and friends said Mr Cooper was proud of the photo.
Family and friends said Mr Cooper was proud of the photo.

Mr Cooper was delivering documents near the World Trade Center, unaware of exactly what had happened that morning, when he heard a police officer yell, "You have to run".

The photo shows Mr Cooper, who was 60 at the time, with a manila envelope tucked under his left arm and wearing glasses.

Suzanne Plunkett, the Associated Press photographer who snapped the shot, has written that she's been in touch with two of the people in the photo, but Cooper was not among them.

"It is a shame I was never aware of the identity of Mr. Cooper," Ms Plunkett wrote after his death in an email to The Palm Beach Post.

Mr Cooper may have survived one global disaster, but wasn't so lucky when it came to the coronavirus pandemic.

He's not alone. Tragically, many 9/11 survivors have passed away during the current crisis.

In late May, The New York Times put out a heartbreaking front page, reporting on the Americans who had lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of those people was a first responder who helped at the scene of 9/11, 73-year-old Albert Petrocelli, a police chief from New York City.

He has now also passed away because of COVID-19.

Originally published as Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus


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