San Diego

Former San Diego Police Detective Dies of Cancer

Brett Burkett, 50, wore the San Diego Police Department badge proudly for 25 years; he died this week

A former San Diego Police Department (SDPD) homicide detective recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer has died.

Brett Burkett, 50, wore the SDPD badge with pride for 25 years. He had a long list of accomplishments. Most recently, he worked for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office in the Family Protection Division.

Burkett was diagnosed with Angiosarcoma of the heart in July 2017, an incredibly rare form of cancer where a tumor surrounds the heart.

"He just exuded warmth and love that people just liked to be around," said Jack Schaeffer, a friend of Burkett with the San Diego Police Officer's Association. "He was just an amazing person." 

Burkett's family, his longtime partner at SDPD and countless others in the community stepped up to support him in recent months.

The Padres showed a message of support for Burkett on the Petco Park jumbotron and special #BrettStrong bracelets were worn by members of local law enforcement.

Burkett died Tuesday, according to his family. 

The SDPD posted this message on social media Wednesday: "We are saddened to learn of retired #SDPD Detective Brett Burkett's passing yesterday. He will forever be in our hearts. #BrettStrong"

Burkett was last seen by many of his supporters at a benefit on Sunday. He was joined by hundreds of people and appeared to be having a great time. 

A memorial service for Burkett is set to be held March 17 at Eastlake Church in Chula Vista.

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