It was one of the most haunting images that emerged after 9/11: a woman covered in ash and powdered concrete fleeing the World Trade Center after the first plane struck the tower and brought horror to the heart of New York.

Marcy Borders was a 28-year-old Bank of America worker when the photograph of her staring into the lens with her eyes asquint and her mouth agape was taken. Borders, who came to be known around the world as “dust lady”, died on Monday at the age of 42 after a year-long battle with stomach cancer that she blamed on dust inhaled during the attack.

“I can’t believe my sister is gone,” Michael Borders wrote of his sibling on Facebook. Borders’ cousin John Borde added that she was a “hero” and she “unfortunately succumbed to the diseases that have ridden her body since 9/11”.

“In addition to losing so many friends, coworkers, and colleagues on and after that tragic day … the pain from yesteryear has found a way to resurface,” he said.

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