Grayson Murray's death a tragic end to complex struggle with past demons

Grayson Murray’s death a tragic end to complex struggle with past demons

On Monday, many in the Triangle took time to remember professional golfer and Raleigh native Grayson Murray.

In the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge Sunday, players and caddies sported red and black ribbons, honoring his life and his Carolina Hurricanes fandom.

On Saturday, the golf world learned that Murray took his own life at the age 30. He had been vocal about his struggles with mental health.

Murray’s life and death are a reminder that even though many idolize athletes, they are vulnerable too.

Fans may have only known Murray for what he did from tee box to green. But he was much more complex.

“Early on in Grayson’s career, he had a lot of demons,” said Todd Lewis. “He battled alcoholism. He battled depression, battled anxiety.”

Lewis covered Murray while working for NBC Sports and the Golf Channel. He said this news has hit the golf community hard, especially knowing the growth Murray has shown over the last few years.

“He realized that it was OK to not be okay and that gave him the comfort to try and get counseling to put some positive people around him,” Lewis said.

Murray was vocal about his struggles with depression. Lewis said being open about it brought him a purpose greater than golf.

“He says if I can help those, then yeah, I mean, I’m really doing what he’s what I’m meant to do here on the planet,” Lewis said.

NC State professor Jason Bocarro studies mental health in athletes.

“When things aren’t going well in that realm, that impacts their purpose,” Bocarro said.

While Bocarro doesn’t know anything specifically about Murray’s life, he says it’s important for people to understand athletes aren’t gladiators devoid of emotion.

“They’re living the dream of many others but for movie stars or athletes or other high-profile figures, sometimes we underestimate the struggles that they have experienced that regular people struggle with as well,” Bocarro said.

Those struggles can go beyond what happens on a fairway.

Carter Jenkins is also a professional golfer and went to high school with Murray.

“You never had a bar, because Grayson was it,” said Carter Jenkins. “He set that tone for everyone. If you want to be really good and if you want to be successful and you wanted to play this game for a living, you had to beat him.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

If you’re having suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis, call or text 988 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Veterans can press “1” after dialing 988 to connect directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline. For texts, veterans should continue to text the Veterans Crisis Lifeline short code: 838255.