'A beautiful soul': Edmonton motorcycle community mourns popular rider's death

Friends and family of motorcyclist Marcel Murray are devastated after the 31-year-old was killed while riding his motorbike on Anthony Henday Drive Wednesday afternoon.

'Everybody who met him loved him,' says girlfriend of Marcel Murray, 31

Marcel Murray, 31, was killed after his bike struck a Dodge Journey Wednesday. (Amanda Desjarlais)

Friends and family of motorcyclist Marcel Murray are devastated after the 31-year-old was killed while riding his motorbike on Anthony Henday Drive Wednesday afternoon.

"He was somebody's dad, and he was somebody's boyfriend, and he was somebody's son and brother and all of that got taken away in two seconds," said Amanda Desjarlais, who found out about her boyfriend's death over the phone.

"That's the most important part," she said. "It doesn't matter if it could have been prevented at this point anymore. All that matters is that he's gone and he's not coming back and the world lost a beautiful soul," she added.

Murray, 31, had a passion for the outdoors, according to his girlfriend. Whether he was quadding, snowmobiling, driving his Ford F-150 truck, or riding his prized Italian sport-bike, the Ottawa native couldn't wait to get on the open road.

Marcel Murray's Italian Aprilia sport bike was his dream bike, according to girlfriend Amanda Desjarlais (John Taylor)

'It feels like a dream'

"It feels like a dream; I'm waiting for him to call me," Desjarlais said. "Everybody who met him loved him. He definitely passed away doing something that he loved more than anything."

Murray was heading south on the Henday Wednesday afternoon when he collided with an SUV which police say was straddling lanes.

Police said the Dodge Journey slowed suddenly and Murray crashed into it. 

Murray was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries, police said.

As many as 40 friends and fellow riders filled Murray's hospital room after learning he had been hurt.

'I'm still lost'

"When I found out he passed, I've been lost, and I'm still lost, the community is devastated he was such an amazing person," said John Taylor, who was by Murray's side in the hospital room.

"He was an infectious person. If you met him, you would never forget him," added Taylor, who met Murray two years ago in the parking lot of the Whyte Avenue Tim Hortons, a popular hangout for motorcyclists during the summer months.

Taylor said road conditions had nothing to do with the crash and Murray can't be faulted for deciding to ride his Aprilia motorbike this early in the year.

"Nobody wants to risk dropping their bike in an intersection or falling down while making a manoeuvre into a parking lot or something," Taylor said. "We all wait until we feel it's in our comfort zone."

Taylor could have been riding alongside his friend Wednesday afternoon, but is recovering from his own motorcycle crash in August.

He said a case of road rage left him in a wheelchair, recovering from multiple broken bones and other injuries.

'Burying my friends'

Since he started riding in 2011, many Edmonton riders have lost their lives unnecessarily, Taylor said.

"I'm sick and tired of burying my friends," said Taylor, who estimates he's lost more than a dozen friends to motorcycle crashes over the years.

Taylor, who rides with a GoPro camera attached to his helmet, said he frequently sees distracted drivers who are unaware of their surroundings, making it dangerous for those sharing the road.

"You can make a mistake and you can crash and you can die, but there's no reason a person in a vehicle should turn in front of a motorcycle and take a life," he said.

The motorcycle community is planning on holding another vigil for Murray in three to four weeks.