Remembering Dorian “#DStrong” Murray

By News Staff

Reporting by Kainani Stevens, Kirsten Glavin

Dorian Murray, the brave little boy from Westerly whose only wish before dying was to become famous, has passed away Tuesday night.

The announcement was made on the family’s Facebook page, "Praying for Dorian."

A family friend posting on behalf of Dorian’s parents, Melissa and Chris, wrote:

"It is with a very heavy heart that I share this news. Dorian J. Murray (#‎dstrong) has gained his beautiful angel wings tonight and is now pain free. He was surrounded by people who love him and his transition to heaven was very peaceful. He was embraced by both mom and dad."

Signs saying "#DStrong" hang in nearly every store window in downtown Westerly Wednesday morning, but there is a heavy air about town after the passing of 8-year-old Dorian, who was diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer at the age of four.

"Many of us looked upon Dorian as a guiding light and an inspiration, and he will certainly be missed," said State Senator, Dennis Algiere.

Dorian was a fixture around town and many members of the small community were personally touched by his passing.

"Dorian and his mom used to come in here to eat. That was my experience with them and he always had a huge smile on his face no matter what he was going through. We used to go out and feed the ducks, and I think his mom also really got some joy from seeing him do that," said Mia Byrnes, owner of Mia’s Prime Time restaurant.

Dorian’s dying wish to become famous was realized with the popularity of the #DStrong hashtag. His story was shared worldwide and had an impact on many, including others battling cancer.

"It gave me strength. I looked at him and said he’s going through treatment, as I am, and he’s doing it with a smile on his face.  So, if he can do it, I can do it," said breast cancer survivor, Michele Gardner.

Though Dorian passed away at the young age of eight, his legacy will last far beyond that.

"It doesn’t matter how small you are, big you are, old you are. You can always make an impact on the world, and I think he’s changed everyone in their hearts forever."

Dorian’s obituary was posted Wednesday, saying he "was an inspiration of strength and courage to many. He was wise beyond his years and brightened the lives of everyone he met. Dorian’s loving spirit and personality will be deeply missed by his parents and he will be greatly missed and loved not only by his community but worldwide. His legacy of #Dstrong will forever remain in our hearts." 

Dorian’s funeral and burial services are private, but the family will be hosting a candle lit vigil in the near future for all to come and show their love and support. A date for the vigil is yet to be announced.

To help honor Dorian’s memory, his mother announced earlier this week they created a foundation in his name to help other children battling cancer and to support their families.

© WLNE-TV 2016