HENDERSON, N.C. (WNCN) — Residents in Henderson and beyond are mourning the death of the city’s long-time fire chief over the weekend.

Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordell, who worked for the city for 30 years, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer, officials said.

Monday afternoon, the Henderson mayor called Cordell “a colleague, friend and a man whose passion and dedication to his community cannot be measured.”

Dozens gathered Sunday night after they first heard of his death. The group lit candles to remember Cordell and mourn his death.

Cordell was presented the Order of the Guardian award on his birthday earlier in January, according to the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal.

“Cordell was a dedicated and professional firefighter who spent his life serving his community in the fire service,” the state fire marshal’s office said in a statement. “Our team sends our deepest condolences to the Cordell family, the Henderson Fire Department and the Vance County community.”

Less than two weeks ago, the Henderson Fire Department celebrated Cordell’s birthday — and took the opportunity to thank him for his hard work.

“To a man who’s always pushing for greatness, second best is never good enough. He has dedicated his life to the fire service,” officials said in a statement on Jan. 19. “We are proud to call you our chief, friend and brother.”

The Henderson mayor’s office released a statement Monday afternoon in the wake of Cordell’s death.

“The City of Henderson mourns the loss of a colleague, a friend and man whose passion and dedication to his community cannot be measured,” Mayor Eddie Ellington said. “The knowledge, wisdom and service to his profession have profoundly impacted countless lives. Chief Steve Cordell ran the race that was set before him. He lived his life the way he died with courage, strength, and endurance. Although his life here on earth is over, his eternal flame will continue to burn in our hearts and memories.”

Photo courtesy: Henderson Fire Dept.

Cordell became the fire chief of Henderson in 2015 after Danny Wilkerson retired.

On Monday, Wilkerson wrote about his memories of Cordell.

“I never doubted his ability to do his job as well as mine when I was absent. I have many memories of our friendship and working relationship,” Wilkerson said. “I will always remember a night in the late 90s when Steve and I were on top of a warehouse off East Andrews Avenue fighting fire. Steve told me he was uneasy with our situation on top of the warehouse. I told him God is going to protect us and he did.”

Cordell leaves behind two daughters and several grandchildren.