Whenever Glendale Heights police officer Don Darby went on a drug bust or was helping chase down an assailant, his trusted partner -- Lucky, the department's lone canine -- was always by his side.
When Darby was in his final days after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, there was Lucky again, at his bedside in the hospital.
On Tuesday, the 14-year veteran of the Glendale Heights police force died of stage four glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of brain tumor. His passing at age 38 comes a year after he was diagnosed.
"Don and Lucky have been inseparable during this last year of tough times," Deputy Chief Tom Bialas said. "Lucky has really brought comfort to Don and the family. That partnership was really strong."
As a canine officer, Darby not only went out on criminal investigations with Lucky, a German shepherd, but also made frequent visits to local schools to provide demonstrations.
Bialas said Darby frequently would put on a "bite sleeve" during an "aggressive drill" with Lucky.
"They were tremendous together and great with kids in the community," Bialas said.
Before he became a canine officer, Darby represented the Glendale Heights Police Department as an undercover officer in the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group, the countywide narcotics investigation unit.
He worked his way up through the department after being hired as a patrol officer.
A moment of silence was held Tuesday afternoon outside the department headquarters.
Darby is survived by his wife and two children.
Funeral arrangements are pending.