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Retired Colorado paramedic dies from coronavirus after volunteering as first responder in New York

Paul Cary worked as a firefighter and paramedic with the fire department in Aurora, Colorado, for more than 30 years, according to Ambulnz, a national ambulance company. By Amir Vera and Keith Allen, CNN

(CNN) -- A Colorado man who was both a retired firefighter and paramedic died from coronavirus after traveling to New York to volunteer with virus relief, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday.

Paul Cary, 66, left Colorado Springs with colleagues from the national ambulance company Ambulnz and began working in New York on April 1, Polis said. Cary contracted coronavirus during his work in New York, and died from Covid-19 on April 30. His body was brought back to Colorado on Sunday, Polis said.

Cary's family respected and accepted his commitment to serving others in need, their statement read.

"He risked his own health and safety to protect others and left this world a better place," the Cary family's statement read. "We are at peace knowing that Paul did what he loved and what he believed in, right up until the very end."

Cary worked as a firefighter and paramedic with the fire department in Aurora, Colorado, for more than 30 years, Ambulnz said in a statement.

"Paul's career is best defined by his kindness and service to others," the statement read. "Paul made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and will forever be remembered as extremely dependable and completely devoted to his work."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio paused to remember Cary at a news conference Friday.

"It just hurts that such a good man has made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so to the Cary family, we honor Paul's sacrifice, we honor what Paul did. He clearly saved lives while he was here. We honor all of you, we grieve with you," de Blasio said, adding that the city will find a way to create a special memorial for Cary.

Cary is survived by two sons and four grandchildren, according to the statement from Ambulnz. The company established the Ambulnz Memorial Fund to provide college tuition for his grandchildren.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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