Belfast Telegraph

Club DJ who put Kelly's on map passes away after cancer battle

By Allan Preston

The sisters of a well-known DJ have paid tribute to their "hero" brother, who died after battling cancer.

Christopher Hurley (47) put Kelly's nightclub in Portrush on the map in the early 1990s and has been credited as a pioneer of the Irish dance music scene.

A devoted father to his four-year-old daughter, Scarlett, Mr Hurley died on Wednesday at his mother's house in Coleraine. His funeral Mass is at 12pm today in St Patrick's Church, Ballymoney, with interment in the adjoining churchyard.

Sisters Sharon and Rhonda said he had bravely fought against his illness after he was diagnosed with cancer in August.

"We called him our hero," said Sharon.

"He always thought he was going to make it. He stayed positive throughout his illness and was just a gentleman. The music and his daughter were his life."

Rhonda said she would remember him as "happy, smiling and always full of fun". She added: "He was so brave, he never once complained. Even when he was in pain, he just gritted his teeth and got through it."

"It does bring us some comfort that he was so recognised and respected for what he did."

Fellow DJs and friends remembered the "master of the decks" who helped unite a diverse crowd during the final years of the Troubles.

Fellow DJ William Ray 'X-ray' McLaughlin said: "Kelly's became a neutral ground for a lot of people travelling all over the province, people who didn't want to be seen socialising with the other side in their own home towns.

"Chris provided that platform and it's such a sad loss."

Col Hamilton, a promoter for the Lush nightclub, which succeeded Kelly's, said: "Chris had so many people from all sides dancing together. In many ways those nights at Kelly's were doing more for the peace process than any politician could."

Belfast Telegraph

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