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Murray, Michael "Mike"

Murray, Michael "Mike"

MADISON—Our beloved son, brother, cousin, nephew, and friend, Michael John Murray, passed away on Monday, March 4, 2019, at UW Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. Mike was born on April 24, 1981, to John and Mary (Karlin) Murray. He had a lovely and carefree childhood in Monona, excelling in music. He was lucky enough to have his dad coach his soccer throughout his childhood, which sparked his love for the sport. He graduated from Monona Grove High School in 1999, and soon after moved to Portland, Ore., to study at the Emil Fries Piano School and under the tutelage of renowned Chopin virtuoso, Joanna Hodges.

Although classical piano was his true calling, his brilliance in all things math became evident when he began to “study” poker. Michael did not just become a good poker player, he became an internationally recognized phenom. For almost a decade, Mike supported himself by winning big tournaments. He also organized many charity events that raised money for organizations including Hospice and Backpacks for Kids.

Mike loved to travel the world with his friends, flirt with pretty girls, love on any dog he could, and crush juice boxes. He struggled with depression and addiction for 12 years. On Dec. 4, 2018, Michael began his recovery journey. He was three days shy of receiving his 90-day chip when he relapsed. We will never know why.

Michael is survived by his parents, John and Mary Murray (Bill Odegaard); his siblings, Ruth, Christopher, and Molly (Tyrel) Zich; and his darling nephew, August Zich. He was preceded in death by both sets of grandparents; uncles, Mark, Rick, and Bill; aunt, Kibby; countless friends, many of them lost to the same horrible disease; and his dog, Tanner.

Mike’s childhood circle of friends remains tight to this day and we offer our most sincere gratitude to those who’ve remained loyal and true right through to his very last hour. In the true spirit of Michael Murray, his last acts were to take blankets and food to a homeless encampment. Then he called his mama to apologize for taking all the chicken and biscuits from the fridge and to tell her how much he loved her. An hour later he used heroin for the last time. Opiate and heroin addiction have become a scourge upon our nation. We’d hoped that demon would be slain before it took our son. We offer our prayers and hope to all those who still suffer.

Funeral services will be held at GUNDERSON FITCHBURG FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 2950 Chapel Valley Road, Fitchburg, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday. Michael will be laid to rest at Blue Mounds Cemetery at a later date.

A heartfelt thanks to the UW Hospital TLC Unit, especially Jenn, Bethany, and Andrew for your compassionate support. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Gunderson Fitchburg

Funeral & Cremation Care

2950 Chapel Valley Road

(608) 442-5002

Gunderson Fitchburg

Funeral & Cremation Care

2950 Chapel Valley Road

(608) 442-5002

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