Shane Evans, whose battle for life was supported by an outpouring of love from his colleagues in Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service, died surrounded by his family at Severn Hospice, in Shrewsbury.
His mum Linda said: "He lived his life to save other people but nobody could save his." His dad John said: "It was a very nasty cancer."
They added: "He was a very loving person who always showed his emotion and loved his kids.
"He loved being a firefighter."
The family of 42-year-old Shane thanked the local community and his firefighting colleagues for their efforts in raising more than £6,000 for Shane's partner Lisa Stovin, and children Chelsea, Izabelle, Kian and Corey.
Newport Fire Station, where Shane had been an on-call firefighter, posted on their Facebook page: "Shane our brother sadly passed away, you are now at peace my friend and you’ll be sadly missed by many. Being a part of the fire service is like being family. Shane, you are family.
"Heaven has gained a fantastic firefighter and we are missing one. Our thoughts and prayers are with all your family and friends at this very sad time."
They added: "Now more than ever we need your support for his young family. If you’re able to donate, we’d truly appreciate it."
Firefighters paid a surprise visit to Shane in Newport on Christmas Day, sirens blaring in this video:
Shane's father said: "It was a really nice gesture.
"He hadn't wanted to get out of bed for the last few days but when he heard the sirens he forced himself out, and was very weak. It was as if he was saying goodbye.
"It was the last time that Shane had the energy to walk and when he went out on to the drive it showed how much it meant to him."
Shane went into the hospice on Wednesday where his mum, dad and partner were with him day and night. John and Linda had nothing but praise for the staff at the hospice.
Shane was diagnosed in January this year with squamous cell oesophageal cancer. He began a lengthy fight against the illness, including 10-hour keyhole surgery to remove his oesophageal cancer back in July.
The operation was filmed and a documentary is set to be aired on Channel 5 on Thursday.
"I would still want that to go ahead," said dad John. "It will show the world what he was like and how brave he was."
After undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and operations, Shane was given the news that the cancer had spread through his body and was no longer curable.