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N.H. World War II veteran who just received Purple Heart has died

 Francis Byrne, 94, of Manchester, N.H., stood with his great-grandchildren behind him after he received a long-awaited Purple Heart.
Francis Byrne, 94, of Manchester, N.H., stood with his great-grandchildren behind him after he received a long-awaited Purple Heart.DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF/file

Less than a month after he received a Purple Heart for his heroic service during World War II, Francis Byrne died at his New Hampshire home Thursday morning, his family said.

He was 94.

Byrne, a Massachusetts native who was wounded during the war, had been battling bladder and kidney cancer, said Maddy Doyon, his stepdaughter.

“He sure did fight a good fight . . . through the whole cancer ordeal,” Doyon said in a brief telephone interview Thursday evening. “Now he is finally resting in peace.”

Byrne, who was born in Melrose, was presented with his Purple Heart on Dec. 14 at a ceremony in Manchester, N.H.

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“I felt like I was 100 feet tall,” he told the Globe then of learning he was receiving the honor. “I didn’t believe it, after all this time.”

Byrne was drafted into the Army when he was 18-years-old, and served from 1943 until 1946, he told the Globe last month.

He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was injured in the line of duty in France when he was hit by shrapnel from a landmine.

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat who worked on Byrne’s application for a Purple Heart for months, called the veteran “a true American hero and patriot who fought at D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge” in a statement posted on her Facebook. page

“He sacrificed so much to defend our nation and save the world from tyranny. I will always remember the smile on his face as he received his long awaited Purple Heart,” Shaheen said. “My sincere condolences to his family. May Fran rest in peace.”

Doyon said a funeral service is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, N.H.

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Emily Sweeney of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Alejandro Serrano can be reached at alejandro.serrano@globe.com.