The music fraternity is in mourning following reports of the death of In The Streetz music producer and artiste manager, Byron Murray. Reports are that he passed away on Wednesday, after complaining of feeling ill while at home. He was 54.
Murray’s sister, Patricia Pennicott, told The Gleaner that the former manager of dancehall artiste Mr Vegas “was sick, but the illness wasn’t anything that should kill him so suddenly just like that”. She added that she and her younger brother shared the same residence in Montego Bay, and that at the time of his passing, Murray, who was also a writer, was more focused on his book-writing and distribution business, rather than music.
“When he got up Wednesday morning, he said he was feeling weak, but prior to that he was up and about and doing his book business. He was sick, but he was being treated for it,” she disclosed. “That day, he was in his room, and about 1p.m., he spoke to his son on the phone and he was in good spirits. He called me a little later and he said he was very weak, so we called the ambulance. But by 3 p.m. he was dead,” she explained, sounding very distraught.
Murray, over the years, had built a name for himself in the music business and had close links to artistes such as Richie Stephens, Mr Vegas, and publicist Ralston Barrett. In paying tribute, Vegas hailed Murray as an “honest man”.
AN HONEST MAN
“He was my very first manager and I must say that he was one of the most honest persons I have ever worked with. He taught me a lot about music and, based on the vision we had, we did a lot of good work though our In The Streetz label. Many young and established acts came through the label, which saw Murray recording some great songs with artistes such as Chicco, Lexxus, Hawkeye and Alozade.”
Vegas said that the last time he actually saw Murray was about five years ago, however, they had spoken more recently. Barrett, who was the publicist for Murray’s label, said he spoke to Murray frequently, and related how he missed calls from the producer two days this week.
“I missed two calls from Murray on Monday and one on Tuesday, and made a promise to myself to call him on Wednesday. So you can imagine how shocked and shaken up I was when I heard that same day that Murray had died. Murray was like a mentor to me and he will be missed, ” he stated. Barrett named Murray as the person who gave him a break when he needed it most.
Richie Stephens stated that although he knew that Murray was sick and had returned home to Montego Bay, he was shocked to hear of the producer’s death. “He (Murray) called me about a month ago and we had a small conversation. And he ended it by saying that we would link soon. And the next thing I hear is the shocking news from Vegas that Murray had passed,” Stephens said, still in a daze.
Murray’s sister told The Gleaner that an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. He would have celebrated his 55th birthday on November 11, exactly two months after his passing.