NYC Disabilities Commissioner Dies at 41

Matthew Sapolin died Tuesday in Manhattan of cancer

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011  |  Updated 7:04 PM EDT
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NYC Disabilities Commissioner Dies at 41

AP

March 2007 photo provided by the New York City Mayor's Office of Matthew Sapolin, commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

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Matthew Sapolin, commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, has died at age 41.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says his commissioner of nine years died Tuesday in Manhattan of cancer, which he had fought since the age of five when cancer of the optic nerve took his sight.

The mayor says Sapolin built his office into a formidable force to assure that the rights of people with disabilities were included in all city initiatives.

Sapolin headed the creation of internationally distributed Inclusive Design Guidelines and led efforts to pass laws increasing the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis and requiring passenger ferries and terminals be made accessible.

He was co-captain of the Varsity Wrestling team at New York University and worked to help others with disabilities play sports.

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