THE SAD NEWS reached me from Burbank, California this week that a much-revered old friend and correspondent of mine had passed away.
Jim Murtha was a man like no other – totally unique. A good man, an intelligent man – and one who possessed the heart of a lion.
His genuine, raw courage was a sight to behold in the way he faced cancer on more than one occasion. I recall him reporting to me that the cancer had returned in his little finger, if I recall correctly,, and his saying to the doctor, ‘just cut the f*cker off, doc, I don’t need it’ – as if it was an absurdity for the cancer to challenge him in such a ridiculous way.
Jim brought a different way of thinking about things in general, to read his words was absolutely inspirational.
I can barely believe that cancer had the temerity to return to his world but it did and for that I shall be eternally sorry. I guess Jim had already had his fun kicking it’s ass on several occasions and ‘opening a can of whoop-ass’ to it as he would tell us.
What a man. What a great, great man. He will be sorely missed but never, ever forgotten.
My deepest condolences go to his family, friends and all those who loved him, of which there were many.
Rest in Peace, Jim. The memory of your courage will live on.
A few words I wrote back in 2008 about Jim’s story and in particular, his Marathon in Dublin: