LITTLE YORK, Ill. (WMBD) — Larry ‘the Flagman’ Eckhardt died Tuesday morning in hospice care.

His caretaker Angela Dolores Soule made the announcement on Facebook.

Eckhardt died after a battle with thyroid cancer; he was diagnosed in 2018. For the last 15 years, he traveled all over the country to honor firefighters, police officers, fallen soldiers, soldiers coming home and for children of St. Jude’s Research Hospital by planting U.S. Flags with the help of many local volunteers. In total, Eckhardt planted nearly 500,000 flags.

The City of Pekin honored ‘the Flagman’ by lowering its flag to half-mast to mourn his passing, mayor Mark Luft said.

Eckhardt suffered a stroke back in February. He was in hospice care in Iowa and returned home to Little York at the end of the month. He was welcomed home by more than 1,000 flags lining the roads.