RTÉ broadcaster Colm Murray died at his family home last night after a battle with motor neuron disease (MND). He was 61.
Murray, best known for covering horse racing, was diagnosed with MND in spring 2010, and he had vowed not to let the disease ruin his life. In fact, he continued to work in the RTÉ newsroom and embarked on a series of in-depth radio profiles of luminaries such as Alex Ferguson, Brian O’Driscoll and Johnny Murtagh.
Just last year, he was awarded the People of the Year Award for his efforts in the study of MND, and a documentary aired on RTÉ that followed his participation in the trial of a drug called dexpramipexole.
Ryle Nugent, group head of Sport, RTÉ, said it’s a sad day for all who knew and worked with Murray.
“He had an infectious laugh, a real sense of fun and a little mischief that has been, and will always be, missed in this office. His commitment and love for his work was there for all to see and he will be long remembered for his kindness, decency and caring of those with whom he came into contact. Our thoughts are with his wife Anne and all his family,” Nugent said.
Colm Murray’s background
Murray was born in Moate, Co Westmeath, the eldest of four children. In 1978, he answered a newspaper advert seeking a continuity announcer for RTÉ, and thus began his career with the State broadcaster. In 1989, he began to cover sport, both in studio and out in the field.
Murray is survived by his wife, Anne, daughters Kate and Patricia, and his sister, Mary.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny expressed his sympathies to Murray’s family.
“Colm was the voice of Irish racing for many years and he lit up the coverage of many a racing meet with his passion and enthusiasm for the sport,” Kenny said.
“I had the pleasure of being in Colm’s company recently and could see he was a proud Westmeath man who brought out the best in those around him with his affability and gift for storytelling,” Kenny added.
“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, Anne, and daughters, Patricia and Kate, and sister, Mary. He is also a huge loss to all in RTÉ and my thoughts are with all who had the pleasure of knowing Colm during his lifetime.”