ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Industrial Commission says a firefighter's death from cancer was a "line of duty death."

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the ruling in the death of Asheville Fire Department Engineer Will Willis is only the second such in state history for a firefighter's cancer death. Willis died Feb. 27, on his 34th birthday, from a rare form of kidney cancer.

Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor says the ruling sets a precedent, and benefits Willis' family. His family will receive disability benefits and his children will get a free college education at a state public university. His name will be added to a state memorial in Raleigh.

A 2013 Centers for Disease Control study said firefighters were more likely than the general U.S. population to die of cancer.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com