MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Veteran Miami Police Sergeant Angel Calzadilla died early Friday morning, the victim of a longtime struggle with cystic fibrosis. Calzadilla, 48, served as a Miami police officer for 22 years.
Calzadilla was well known in South Florida for his role as a public information officer, in which he often appeared on television as the face of the department, answering questions about the department and about criminal cases.
Calzadilla also served as assistant to former Miami police chief John Timoney. In the course of his career, he had also been a patrol officer and hostage negotiator.
In a statement issued by the department. Miami Police public information officer Lt. Delrish Moss put voice to the department’s loss.
“It is with deep sadness and a profound sense of grief that the City of Miami Police Department announces the passing of one of our family members,” the statement read. “Early this morning, Sergeant Angel Calzadilla succumbed to his illness and drifted into an eternal sleep.”
Calzadilla died after undergoing surgery in Jacksonville.
In August, 2010, Calzadilla was on patrol in Miami when a call went out that a woman was threatening suicide, hanging from a 52nd floor balcony at Miami’s Epic hotel.
Calzadilla was able to convince her to end her attempt by contacting a friend of hers, recording a message from that friend on his cell phone, and playing the sound back to the distraught woman.
As she listened, Calzadilla and other officers were able to grab her and bring her to safety. The whole thing was captured on cellphone video.
He said the woman later thanked him for saving her.
“She was prepared. In my opinion, she was ready to do what she had to do, and if not intentional, after two hours in the hot sun, by tragic accident,” said Calzadilla.
He said he could not watch the video without getting chills.
“We have lost a fine police officer and a great human being” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. Sgt. Calzadilla is survived by a wife and daughter, as well as by his parents and a brother.
Funeral arrangements are pending.