North Arlington Mayor Joseph Bianchi, a lifelong borough resident and longtime firefighter, died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, borough officials confirmed.
Bianchi, 77, died around noon after he “took a turn for the worse” late Tuesday night, North Arlington Council Vice President Dan Pronti said.
Pronti said Bianchi, who was a 26-year member of North Arlington Fire Department, died of “9/11-related cancer.” Bianchi, with the rest of the fire department, responded to Ground Zero on Sept. 11.
“He was a great man, with a beautiful family,” Pronti said. “He loved North Arlington and gave his heart and soul to making our town better. I will do whatever I can to continue carrying out his vision.”
He has served as mayor since 2014 and was running for re-election this fall.
Bianchi was also the owner of Pal Joey’s Unisex Haircutters. He cut hair there since he first opened the establishment in 1966.
The mayor served in the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1960 and received an award for helping to rescue a resident from burning home in 1992.
Pronti said there will be a viewing for Bianchi at Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home in North Arlington on Sunday.
Other services were not yet made public as of 8 p.m. Wednesday.