He was a Pittsburgh firefighter for 40 years and was union president for 26.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The long-time former Pittsburgh firefighters union President Joe King has died.

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Ralph Sicuro, the President of the Pittsburgh Fire Fighters, IAFF Local No. 1, says King was a firefighter for 40 years and the union president for 26. He passed away Tuesday morning.

“Joe displayed immeasurable talent with uniquely special charisma, passion, and creativity to his job of fighting for and protecting our members’ wages, retirement benefits, healthcare, and especially our safety. Joe was not only a warrior for our members, but he equally loved and fought to protect the residents of the City of Pittsburgh,” Sicuro said in a statement.

King remained the president of the firefighters union until he retired in 2014.

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“Joe King was a great battler on behalf of the men and women of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire. He gave everything he had to his union, his bureau, his country and his city,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in a statement.

“I have the utmost respect for him, and he leaves a lasting legacy of hard work on behalf of working people everywhere.”

Pittsburgh firefighter and Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council President Darrin Kelly called King “a true legend.”

“Joe King was a Pittsburgh Firefighter, a labor leader, a proud Vietnam veteran and a great friend and mentor to so many of us,” Kelly’s statement said in part.

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“Personally and professionally, I would not be the man I am today without his guidance and support. We are crushed by his loss, but so grateful for the example he set for us as a selfless leader and a tenacious fighter for working families.”