Michael Hance, a 44-year-old police officer who became internet famous in 2015, has died.
Hance was a momentary viral sensation when video that showed him twerking alongside a parade reveler at the 2015 Gay Pride Parade was released.
According to his family, Hance was diagnosed with brain cancer in late 2016. It quickly spread to his lungs, liver and chest. Multiple media outlets are referring to Hance’s death as a 9/11-related fatality. Hance worked the rope line for debris, aka the “bucket brigade,” when he was a rookie cop.
“He loved being a cop,” Hance’s brother told the New York Daily News. “It was in his blood.”
Hance was remembered for many acts of bravery throughout his 17-year career on the force, including a 2005 incident where he saved a baby from choking on a Lego. Despite his acts of heroism, it will be an off-the-cuff moment of happiness for which the world will best remember him.
The woman who shot the video of Hance and a parade attendee dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough,” spoke about the moment to the New York Daily News.
“It was really special,” Paige Ponzeka said. “He was straight and was still having fun at the parade.”
According to Ponzeka, Hance’s moment helped remind people that cops could have fun, too.
“That was a great message to send. A lot of cops have a tough-guy vibe, but he had the vibe that you can have fun and there was nothing wrong with that,” she said.
Hance is survived by two daughters, aged 10 and 12.