MADISON, NJ -  Madison Police Capt.Joseph P. Cirella, 47, lost his three-month plus battle with colon cancer Tuesday evening. He leaves behind a wife and children. 

"It is with great sorrow that Chief Darren Dachisen announces the death of Captain Cirella. Our captain died after being diagnosed with cancer in September and leaves behind a wife and three young children,"  said the Madison Department in a released statement Tuesday evening.

"We will remember Joe as a great cop, a mentor, a devoted father, husband and above all, a friend."

Born and raised in Irvington and the proud son of an Irvington fireman, Cirella was appointed to the Madison Police Department on Feb. 13, 1989 after working for the Morris County Sheriff’s Office.

A graduate of the Morris County Police Academy, Capt. Cirella’s first months as a police officer were spent undercover where he performed narcotics investigations. Captain Cirella spent several years in the Detective Bureau before being promoted to Sergeant in July of 2002. He was again promoted to Detective Sergeant in November of 2006, Lieutenant in January of 2013 and Captain in September of this year.

"Captain Cirella was instrumental in reinstituting the Madison Police Department Motor Unit in 2000 and he served as a devoted motor officer until the end," said the MPD.

"Captain Cirella loved his job and made every attempt to return to work after being diagnosed with cancer. During his last hours, a nurse at Morristown Medical Center asked Joe if wanted anything; his response: I just want to go back to work," they added.

Arrangements will be announced as they are made.