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Murray Energy founder, former Crandall Canyon mine owner, dies at age 80

By Jen Riess, | Posted - Oct. 25, 2020 at 8:47 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Robert Murray, the founder and former president and CEO of Murray Energy Corp. died on Sunday. He was 80 years old.

Murray died at his home in St. Clairsville, Ohio, just days after announcing his retirement as board chairman of American Consolidated Natural Resource Holdings Inc.

A family spokesperson told WTOV in Steubenville, Ohio that Murray was surrounded by his family when he died Sunday morning. His death was not related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Murray owned and operated Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine, which collapsed in August 2007 killing six miners inside and three emergency responders after a second collapse. It was considered the state's deadliest mine accident since 1984.

Murray spent most of his life in the mining business, working as CEO of the North American Coal Company and then starting Murray Energy Corporation in 1988.

Murray Energy sought bankruptcy protection in October 2019 as utilities switched away from coal to renewable energy or natural gas. The company's chapter 11 plan became effective in August 2020 and it emerged just a month later as American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc. with active mines in Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Utah.

Multiple sources report Murray had ongoing health issues that are common in coal miners. In 2017 Murray said in an interview with the Associated Press that he used an oxygen machine to treat "idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis" unrelated to mining.

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