May 4, 2011 -- Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick, the head of the company that lost more than 600 people in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks said he was relieved that Osama bin Laden didn't die of cancer.
When news broke late Sunday of bin Laden's death, Lutnick's phone immediately started ringing off the hook.
"The first person who called said he had died and I was afraid he had died of cancer or something like that but fortunately that wasn't the case," Lutnick said in an interview with ABC News.
Bin Laden's death holds a special significance for Lutnick and Cantor Fitzgerald.
Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 employees on Sept. 11, 2001, when two hijacked commercial airplanes hit the towers of New York's World Trade Center. Cantor Fitzgerald's offices were located in the twin towers.
"It ends a particular part of the 9/11 story. The gentlemen who mastermind this whole act has finally been brought to justice and that's just one part of the pain we have all suffered – that someone was getting away with it," Lutnick said.
Taking Care of Their Own
Lutnick said Bin Laden's death is a reminder of what many families have been looking forward to for nearly 10 years. "It's a good day but it's a tough thing. It reminds you of what he got away with up until now. It's a good day and there's no other way to say it. The criminal, the terrorist who did this has been brought to justice by the American military and I'm really glad for that," Lutnick said.
Following the 9/11 attacks, Cantor Fitzgerald's surviving employees and the families of the deceased became the company's driving force and rallying cry.
Lutnick said 25 percent of the profits for the next five years that followed the attacks were delivered to those families of 9/11 for a total of $180 million.
The company also pledged to pay 10 years of health care for the families.
As the financial services firm worked to rebuild from the tragedy, its employees have never forgotten the events of Sept. 11.
"It's a big company now but it's a new company now – it's a part of us…9/11," he said.
And every year on Sept. 11, Cantor Fitzgerald brokers donate 100 percent of their commission made on that day to charity.
Lutnick said they've raised as much as $12 million in one day.
"I lost my brother, I lost my best friend. I lost everything that I loved at that time. But I'm here, I have a spectacular wife. I have great kids and family. So I want to take what I was able to keep and give it back to the families of those we lost," Lutnick said.