RTÉ broadcaster Colm Murray dies aged 61
Tributes paid to sports presenter who had been suffering from Motor Neurone Disease
RTÉ broadcaster Colm Murray who died today. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
The broadcaster Colm Murray has died from Motor Neurone Disease (MND) at the age of 61.
Mr Murray was one of the country’s best known and best loved sports presenters with a particular enthusiasm for horse racing.
His death was announced this morning. Immediately, tributes started to pour in.
Audio: Jimmy Magee remembers Colm Murray
Colm Murray remembered
Jockey Barry Geragthy tweeted on hearing the news: “Very sad news to hear of RTÉ sports correspondent Colm Murray’s passing he was such a nice man and a great supporter of racing & all sports.”
Fellow jockey Davey Russell tweeted: “Very sad 2 hear of the passing of Colm Murray a true sports fan and gentleman who adored his racing. Thoughts are with his family.”
Fellow RTÉ broadcaster Des Cahill stated: “RIP the legendary Colm Murray.A fantastic colleague with a hearty, infectious laugh..a bundle of energy..& the worst racing tips in Ireland.”
Mr Murray was a native of Moate, Co Westmeath. He went to then University College Galway (UCG) and was keenly involved in the drama society.
He joined RTÉ as a continuity announcer in 1978 and, by his own admission, fell into sports journalism. His enthusiasm and knowledge of horse racing in particular made him hugely popular around race courses in Ireland and at Cheltenham which was the highlight of his sporting year.
Mr Murray is survived by his wife, Anne, daughters Kate and Patricia and his sister Mary.
In June 2011, Mr Murray wrote in The Irish Times’ Health Supplement about his condition.
He was diagnosed on March 30th, 2010, having gone to specialists with an ongoing limp and muscle twitches known as fasciculations.
He wrote: “The progressive loss of mobility has seen me move from the use of one stick to two sticks and then to crutches. I’m trying to work against the odds. I have difficulties in doing everyday things. I have great difficulties in buttoning a shirt, for instance.”
“It is hard to come to terms with suddenly being cast into a world in which you cannot do so many of the things that you took for granted, such as a game of golf or going for a walk.”
He described MND as a “terrible and cruel disease” and did his best to raise awareness of the condition.
He was involved in a trial of the drug Dexpramipexole along with other patients at Beaumont Hospital in 2011 but it was not a success. The Stage III trials failed to show any discernible impact for sufferers of the terminal condition and was withdrawn by its manufacturer, Biogen Idec.
His doctor, Prof Orla Hardiman, said the drug showed promise in animal trials, but that did not translate to humans.