ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Robert Murray, who, as a leader of the largest privately-owned U.S. coal operator long fought federal regulations to reduce black lung disease, has died.
A lawyer tells The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register that Murray died Sunday at age 80 at his home in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
He had announced his retirement on Oct. 19 from American Consolidated Natural Resource Holdings Inc. as board chairman.
The company sued unsuccessfully in 2014 over regulations to cut coal dust in mines to reduce black lung disease.
No official cause of death was given.
According to the Associated Press, recent reports stated Murray had applied for black lung benefits with the U.S. Labor Department in early October.
The AP reported that the West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Ohio Valley ReSource confirmed the claim through an online portal maintained by the Labor Department.
Murray stated on the claim that he was on oxygen and "near death," the AP reported.
Murray Energy owns and operates mines in Utah under the subsidiary UtahAmerican Energy — including the former Crandall Canyon Mine, which collapsed in 2007. The disaster killed six miners, whose bodies were never recovered, and three people attempting to rescue the trapped miners.