A former Army medic made famous by a photograph that showed him carrying an injured Iraqi boy during the first week of the war has died of an apparent overdose, police said.
Joseph Patrick Dwyer died last week at a hospital in Pinehurst, according to the Boles Funeral Home. He was 31.
The photograph, taken in March 2003, showed Dwyer running to a makeshift military hospital while cradling the boy.
The photo appeared in newspapers, magazines and television broadcasts worldwide, making Dwyer a symbol of heroism.
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Dwyer laughed when a reporter told him of the photo and its widespread circulation, and he tried to deflect focus to his entire unit. His mother, Maureen, said then that the photo embarrassed her son because it singled him out while other soldiers were doing the same thing.
Last week, Dwyer called a local taxi service to take him to the hospital after an apparent overdose, Capt. Floyd Thomas of the Pinehurst Police Department told the Fayetteville Observer. When the driver arrived, Dwyer said he couldn't get to the door, according to a police report.
Police kicked in the door at Dwyer's request, and he was taken by ambulance to a Pinehurst hospital.
Thomas said bottles of prescription pills were found near Dwyer when police arrived. The former medic died later the night of June 28, according to authorities.
Dwyer served with the 3rd Squadron of the 7th Cavalry Regiment of Fort Stewart, Ga. He earned the Combat Medical Badge and other military awards.