Referee dies after collapsing during HS basketball game

Referee dies after collapsing during HS basketball game

DEEP RUN, LENOIR COUNTY - A referee who collapsed during a high school basketball game in Lenoir County has passed away.

Emily "Hope" Murray, 35, collapsed and hit her head on the bleachers during the first period of the JV Girls basketball game at South Lenoir High School in Deep Run Tuesday, according to school officials. The impact knocked the ref unconscious.

Murray did regain consciousness before being taken to Lenoir Memorial Hospital, school officials said. She was then airlifted to Vidant Medical Center, where her family learned of her passing.

"Praying and hoping and, you know, good thoughts and knowing that everything's going to be okay. And then, the doctors come in and they say, 'There's nothing more we can do,'" recalled Murray's sister, Simonne. "I just lost my sister, my hero, my best friend, all in that one moment."

Above all else, Murray was an athlete, a multi-sport athlete at Wallace Rose-Hill High School, said her family. Murray's passion for basketball led her to refereeing.

"She was getting a little older. But she still wanted to be near the game, so she decided to referee," said Simonne.

Wednesday night, just before the start of the 6:30 p.m. girls basketball game, Wallace Rose-Hill remembered Murray with a moment of silence.

According to the Rose Hill Funeral home, Murray's visitation is scheduled for Friday between 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Her funeral is set for Saturday at the New Christian Chapel in Rose Hill.

There is no word on a cause of death.

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