Woman behind iconic ‘Dust Lady’ photograph dies from stomach cancer

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NEW YORK – Many remember the photograph of the “Dust Lady” on Sept. 11, 2001.

In the photo, a woman wearing business attire and pearls is covered head-to-toe in white dust as she makes her way out of the World Trade Center’s damaged North Tower on Sept. 11.

She became one of the survivors of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.

However, family members say the woman in the photo, Marcy Borders, died on Tuesday.

Borders was just 42-years-old.

She had been battling stomach cancer since last year, daughter Noelle Borders told CNN.

“My mom fought enemies in battle and I just loved her so much,” Borders said in a phone interview. “She will always live through me.”

Family members mourned the mother of two on Facebook.

“I can’t believe my sister is gone,” Michael Borders, her brother, posted.

“We lost our very own hero,” her cousin Elnardo Borders wrote.

Borders was just 28-years-old when she was working as a legal assistant at Bank of America when planes hijacked by terrorists hit the World Trade Center.

Freelance photographer Stan Honda took the famous photograph as Borders escaped the collapsing building through a cloud of dust.

“It wasn’t like it was one of the best images you would want to view out in the world,” she told CNN in an interview six months after the attacks. “Just looking at it just shows how much fear.”

Borders battled depression and drug addiction following the attacks, the Jersey Journal reported, but she checked into rehab in 2011 and found sobriety.

Recently, she was diagnosed with cancer.

“How do you go from being healthy to waking up the next day with cancer?” she said in an interview with the Jersey Journal. “I’m saying to myself, ‘Did this thing (the towers’ collapse) ignite cancer cells in me?'”

“I definitely believe it because I haven’t had any illnesses,” she told the paper.

As of May, 3,700 survivors and first responders at the World Trade Center site have been diagnosed with cancers resulting from the terrorist attack, according to the CDC’s World Trade Center Health Program.

Reports from the CDC found that the collapse of the towers exposed workers and the general public to a number of known chemical carcinogens.

In a tweet Tuesday night, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio remembered the survivor: “Marcy Borders’ passing is a difficult reminder of the tragedy our city suffered nearly 14 years ago. NYC holds her loved ones in our hearts.”

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