A Homer police officer who captured Alaskans' support as he battled cancer has died, just days after the disease again turned malignant.

Ed Stading passed away just before 10 a.m. on Labor Day morning, according to his wife Robanne.

"Friends stood with me and prayed over Ed," she wrote. "His breathing slowed and he passed gently. He finished well!"

Ed Stading was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer on Valentine's Day. Ed's doctor in Anchorage made a strong push for Ed to get treatment in Seattle.

In early March, Ed went to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance House, near Lake Union in downtown Seattle. He stayed there for treatment from his arrival in early March to early August.

"When I came down here I was probably two weeks from dying," Stading said in May. "The cancer was that far advanced, and they were unsure if they were going to be able to help me at all."

Staff members quickly decided that something needed to be done since Ed was already in Seattle.

"They gave me the benefit of the doubt," Stading said. "Two weeks passed, then two months with new scans showing improvements of 30 to 40 percent. That means I can sit here and talk to you without oxygen on."

Ed was still using oxygen but not at the extreme rate he was when he first arrived to Seattle. Ed's improvements continued to progress and he had his eyes set on a return to Homer sometime in July. 

After a slight delay in plans, Ed returned home to Homer on August 11. In a wheelchair, Ed was guided into the Homer Airport and greeted by a packed house of friends and well-wishers who showered him with cheers and tears.

"I'm dumbfounded," Stading said. "Just by what has been going on. The support, the prayers."

Three weeks after Ed's arrival back in Homer, he went to his hospital for a check up to see how he was doing after a regimen change. The news was not what Ed, or his wife and family, were prepared to hear.

"He went to the hospital on Thursday and the cancer came back," Robanne Stading said. "It came back with a vengeance in only three weeks' time." 

The family received the new diagnosis on Thursday morning.

Ed Stading fought hard; diagnosed with only a couple weeks to live, he defied the odds and made it six months. He got to fly home and thank all of the people that helped him in his fight. He hugged the people that raised money to help his family see him in Seattle, the people who prayed for him, sent him cards.

Ed got the chance to do what not many in his position are able to do: to show the gratitude and to pay it forward. 

A memorial service will be held in Homer on Sept. 22. Well-wishers can also show their support through Ed's CaringBridge page and the Stading Strong FaceBook page.

In addition to Robanne, Stading leaves behind three children. 

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