NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York’s longest-serving medical examiner, often cited as the “father of modern forensic pathology,” is retiring.

Dr. Charles Hirsch was appointed the city’s chief medical examiner by Mayor Ed Koch in 1989.

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“Dr. Hirsch was a visionary leader whose work earned him world-renown and helped make New York City a global leader in the field,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “We are deeply grateful for his many years of outstanding service and he leaves a legacy that will serve our city well for many years to come.”

The 75-year-old created and built the largest public DNA laboratory in the country which enabled the office to identify the remains of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

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Hirsch himself was injured in the attacks after he responded to the scene and was caught in the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

He was pulled from the rubble and despite broken ribs and sutured cuts, Hirsch returned to his office to lead his staff through the recovery and identification of victims’ remains.

“Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Dr. Hirsch pledged that ‘We will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to identify every victim of this tragedy,’ and he worked tirelessly to bring some comfort to the families of those lost,” Bloomberg said.

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Hirsch’s longtime deputy, Dr. Barbara Sampson, will succeed him as acting chief medical examiner.