CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A former assistant chief of operations with South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) who was diagnosed with a rare job-related terminal cancer has passed away at age 51, the agency announced Monday.

Chief Troy Jackson passed away early Monday morning from adenoid cystic carcinoma, which he had battled since 2013. Chief Jackson had been open about his cancer battle, and worked on protocols to make sure the people joining his firefighting family would have a better chance of avoiding cancer.

“Despite the physical and emotional challenges of his illness Chief Jackson triumphed as a phenomenal leader and mentor and will be remembered as such," SMFR said. 

WATCH ABOVE: Chief Jackson talked with 9NEWS in September about his journey with cancer and efforts to address the invisible dangers firefighters face. 

South Metro Fire Rescue Assistant Chief of Operations Troy Jackson works to change the culture of firefighting.
South Metro Fire Rescue Assistant Chief of Operations Troy Jackson works to change the culture of firefighting.

Jackson was hired as a firefighter in 1990, and was promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief of Operations in 2016. He stepped down in August due to health reasons but continued treatment to try and slow the cancer down as much as possible. 

Jackson said he shared his journey with cancer in hopes of encouraging other firefighters to be cognizant of the silent risks of firefighting.

“Chief Jackson’s commitment extends much further than South Metro,” SMFR said. “His devotion for his family including his wife Lori, daughter Carley, as well as his son Covey and daughter-in-law Courtney was unmatched. He was such an extraordinary person who loved his family dearly and our hearts go out to all of them for the loss of their husband and father.”

Flags will be flown at half-staff at all South Metro facilities until further notice. Details of Jackson’s memorial service will be announced in the coming days.

A dignified honors procession for Chief Jackson was held Monday morning. 

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