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lives lived

Jonathan James McMurray: Rapper. Stuntman. Extreme skier. Friend. Born July 28, 1984, in Calgary; died Oct. 20, 2018, near Vernon, B.C., after falling from an airplane; aged 34.

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Jonathan James McMurray.The Globe and Mail

Jon James had a way of making people feel like they were part of something bigger than their everyday life. He lifted all his friends, and everyone else who met him, with his endless excitement. He did not care what people thought. He was himself. He rocked a Mohawk most of his life and, earlier this year, superglued a zipper to the side of his head. It got a lot of attention and he revelled in it. When I asked him what was up with the zipper, he said, “What bro? I’m eccentric.”

Jon trained intensely at everything he did and exuded the best qualities in a human. He always tried to better himself spiritually, mentally and physically. He had massive dreams and an urge to do the impossible.

His positive attitude, even during the challenging times, pushed me to be the very best I could be in all areas of my life.

I was lucky to ski professionally with Jon. I have hundreds of memories of the adventures we had all over the world – getting the sickest shots in the coolest places that nobody had done before. It usually ended up with the perfect shot, one of us going to the hospital or jail – or all three. We formed a film company called Loose Canon Playaz. Some people thought we were crazy, but we were pushing the level of pro skiing and stunts to never-before-reached heights.

We performed double and triple flips off incredibly large gap jumps, over cliffs, ravines, buildings, bridges, roads and dams. He was the first skier ever to backflip onto and off of a steel railing. Jon also loved to base jump and skydive. When he wasn’t doing all that, he was making music, music videos and touring. After a lot of skiing injuries – including a broken back – Jon focused on his music.

He poured his ambition into music and worked relentlessly. He earned his way onto the stage. He loved to perform at large events such as the Center of Gravity sports and music festival in Kelowna, B.C. He was a successful rapper and shared stages with artists including Method Man, Ice Cube, Ghostface Killah from Wu Tang, Riff Raff and many more. He lived every moment as if it were his last. Jon recorded hundreds of songs that have not yet been released, and documented his life for 25 years. His team is working on a docu-series with the work Jon left to spread his message: Live your life to the fullest and dream big.

Jon wanted to use every moment of every day. If there was a pause, Jon would instantly say, “Let’s do something!” He kept us searching for the next big stunt, the next big shot or the next step to improving ourselves. We nicknamed him the Terminator because it didn’t matter what life threw at him. He kept moving forward.

Jon lived an incredibly vibrant life filled with fun, danger and excitement. He was the best all-around guy I had the honour of being friends with. I was lucky enough to call him a best friend in this life.

Rory Bushfield is Jon’s friend.

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Lives Lived celebrates the everyday, extraordinary, unheralded lives of Canadians who have recently passed. To learn how to share the story of a family member or friend, go to tgam.ca/livesguide

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