Murray loses battle with motor neurone disease

Colm Murray

RTÉ broadcaster Colm Murray has passed away at the age of 61.

The veteran broadcaster had been battling motor neurone disease, with which he was diagnosed in 2010.

A minute's silence will be observed at Ballybrit racecourse in Co Galway this evening just before 5 o'clock this evening ahead of the first race of this year's Galway festival.

A native of Moate, Co Westmeath, Murray was a teacher for six years before joining the state broadcaster since 1978.

Beginning his career as a continuity announcer, he went on to become a familiar and much-loved figure on RTÉ News and as a sportscaster.

However it is for his connection with horse racing and intrinsic links with racing commentary and reports that he will be most fondly remembered.

Fellow sports broadcaster Jimmy McGee said Murray was much-loved by jockeys and trainers.

"If he comes back in this world agiain, he'll come back as a horse or a jockey … he loved it with a childish enjoyment … and they, in turn, loved him."

He was presented with a People of the Year Award in September last for his work in raising awareness of MND, having participated in a drug trial in a bid to increase understanding of the condition and been featured in an RTÉ documentary that chronicled his physical and emotional struggles post-diagnosis.

Legendary commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh has paid tribute to him, saying his death was "a very, very sad loss to sport and humanity in general."

Ó Muircheartaigh also said Murray would anticipate major sporting events for weeks in advance.

"The wonder of the whole event would have captivated him, always," he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was in Murray's company recently, where he could see he was a proud Westmeath man who brought out the best in those around him with his affability and gift for storytelling.

Noel Curran, Director General of RTÉ, said "the courage that Colm has shown over these past couple of years has been truly extraordinary."

"For all who worked with him in RTÉ he will be remembered as a wonderful colleague and friend. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with Colm’s family today.”"

He is survived by his wife Anne and daughters Katie and Patricia.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam.

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