A New York man who was captured in a famous photograph fleeing the debris of a crumbling World Trade Center on 9/11 has died from the coronavirus.
Stephen Cooper, 78, who was living part-time in Florida, succumbed to the virus March 28 at Delray Medical Center, The Palm Beach Post reported over the weekend.
Cooper was 60 years old when he was photographed running among a crowd just a block away from the south tower, carrying a manila envelope under his left arm.
The image taken by Associated Press photographer, Suzanne Plunkett, ran in newspapers and magazines around the world — and now is on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan.
Janet Rashes, who was Cooper’s partner for 33 years, said he was delivering documents near the World Trade Center when he heard a police officer yell, “You have to run.”
“He didn’t even know the photograph was taken,” she told The Palm Beach Post. “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.”
The couple’s daughter, Jessica Rashes, said her Bronx-born dad kept a copy of the magazine that he would take out on the anniversary of September 11.
“Every year on 9/11, he would go looking for the magazine and say, ’Look, it’s here again,” she said. “He would bring it to family barbecues, parties, anywhere he could show it off.”
Plunkett, the photographer behind the image, said she didn’t know Cooper’s identity until his death.
“It is a shame I was never aware of the identity of Mr. Cooper,” Plunkett wrote after his death in an email to The Palm Beach Post.
With Post wires