The founder and former CEO of Murray Energy Corp. Robert E. “Bob” Murray died on Sunday, October 25, less than a week after announcing his retirement from American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR), the entity that was formed following Murray Energy’s emergence from bankruptcy in mid-September. He had been chairman of the board of directors for ACNR.
Michael Shaheen, an attorney who was representing Murray, told The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register The 80-year-old Murray died at his home in Ohio on Sunday morning.
While no official cause of death was given, Murray’s health had begun to decline in recent years. He was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or coal miner pneumoconiosis in July 2016. In early October, it was reported that Murray had filed for federal benefits to treat black lung disease.
Murray had taken a step back from the company in October 2019 when Robert D. Moore became president and CEO of Murray Energy after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“No one has been more devoted to the industry and ACNR’s business than Mr. Murray,” Moore said. “When others shied away from the industry, he dug in and worked hard for the industry and for our business.”
Murray began his more than 60-year-career as a coal miner at North American Coal Corp., ultimately serving as president and CEO before founding Murray Energy Corp., which at the time of its filing for bankruptcy, was the largest privately held coal company in the U.S.
Besides a coal miner and business owner, Murray was also a vocal advocate for the coal industry during his career, pushing for less regulations, revoking former President Barack Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, and calling for subsidies for coal.
Numerous leaders voiced their condolences on twitter, including National Mining Association President Rich Nolan. “Bob Murray was a force in the mining industry whose dedication to coal was unrivaled,” he said. “All who knew him would agree — there was no one more passionate about the importance and value of coal, and the absence of his voice will be felt by many.”