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Ground zero trio die on same day from '9/11 illnesses'

Three retired firefighters who worked at ground zero in New York have died on the same day from illnesses that are believed to be related to dealing with the 9/11 terror attacks.

Lieutenant Howard Bischoff and firefighters Robert Leaver and Daniel Heglund all died on Monday, NBC News has reported.

New York Fire Department commissioner Daniel Nigro said the men's deaths are "a painful reminder that 13 years later we continue to pay a terrible price for the department's heroic efforts" in September 2001.

The three men were among the first FDNY responders in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Credit: Reuters-Peter Morgan

One had leukaemia, another had oesophageal cancer and a third had colon cancer.

The Uniformed Fire Officers Association said 99 per cent of first responders reported suffering at least one new respiratory illness after 9/11.

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