JERSEY CITY - A Jersey City firefighter and Ground Zero hero has died.

Capt. Mark Lee passed away Friday from what relatives say was respiratory failure.

The family of the 53-year-old says he succumbed to complications brought on by his work at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Even though Lee was sick and his health was deteriorating, he continued to fight major fires in Jersey City.

By Christmas 2013, the 28-year veteran had to face the fact that he was too ill to continue his duties. He still found the strength to brighten one more Christmas for underprivileged kids in Jersey City by organizing his final toy drive.

Lee's son, Mark Lee Jr,. is also a firefighter and says he couldn't be any prouder of his father.

"These guys went over there, and they did everything they possibly could, and in the process you know, it might have got him sick," he says.