Falls Police Officer William Gee, who made his mark as a gentle giant on the force, passed away Tuesday night.

A 12-year veteran of the police department, Gee, 47, died under the care of Hospice and surrounded by his family and loved ones. 

In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, the department said, "Bill was universally loved and respected. He was a great officer and friend. He will be truly missed by all who had the honor of knowing him."

Gee worked a number of posts in his time as an officer, but was best known for his tenure in the patrol division and in the Warrants Services Unit. 

In an October 2012 interview with the Gazette, Gee said he began having pain in his back in May of that year. 

"I went to a chiropractor, but after a couple of visits the doctor sent me to my (physician) and they did some X-rays and bone scans," Gee said. "Then, the next day, my doctor called me and told me to come in after hours."

Gee said he knew right then the news was not going to be good.

"He said to me, 'You have cancer and (the doctors) at Roswell (Park Cancer Institute) are waiting to see you,'" Gee recalled.

After a number of tests, Gee said he got a diagnosis that was as tough as anything he'd ever faced on the streets. The doctors told him he had stage four stomach cancer and that it was trying to spread to his bones and other parts of his body.

The doctors told him the cancer was "terminal." 

Gee fought back. He underwent intensive chemotheraphy and responded well to the treatment. 

But, ultimately, the single dad who had two teenage sons, succumbed to the disease.

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