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    NYC medical examiner Dr. Charles Hirsch retires

    7:30 AM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
    In this July 18, 2007 photo, Dr. Charles Hirsch, New York City's Chief Medical Examiner, participates in a news conference at his office in New York. Hirsch, 75, who was appointed in 1988, is retiring, it was announced Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)
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    NEW YORK (AP) - New York City's long-serving medical examiner is retiring.

    Dr. Charles Hirsch was appointed in 1989 by then-Mayor Ed Koch, who recently died.

    The 75-year-old has investigated thousands of deaths, from the 2001 World Trade Center attack to the 1990 flash fire at the Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx that killed 87 people.

    The New York Times says a recent illness prevented Hirsch from speaking about his retirement this week.

    In a statement Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Hirsch "a visionary and dedicated public servant whose work earned him world renown."

    Dr. Barbara Sampson, Hirsch's longtime deputy, succeeds him as acting chief medical examiner.

    Hirsch oversaw major advancements in DNA identification and mass-fatality response operations. His quest to identify the nearly 20,000 body parts collected after 9/11 continues.

    (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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