A man who said the former Seattle mayor sexually abused him as a teenager has been found dead of a suspected drug overdose.
Delvonn Heckard, the first of five men to accuse Ed Murray of sexual abuse, was found dead in a room of the Auburn Motel 30 miles south of Seattle at about 2.05am on Friday.
He had turned 47 on Valentine's Day.
Just two months ago, Heckard won a $150,000 ( NZD$203,000) taxpayer-funded settlement, after his lawsuit filed in April against Murray prompted four others to come forward, reports Daily Mail.
The 62-year-old Democrat Murray, who resigned as Seattle's mayor in September after his own cousin publicly accused him of child sexual abuse, continues to deny all the allegations.
The King County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Heckard's death on Friday afternoon, and said the cause and manner of death are still pending, the Seattle Times reported.
Paramedics responded to a 911 call from the motel and found Heckard unresponsive, and were unable to resuscitate him.
A witness found "some type of medication in the room, as well as some illicit drug paraphernalia", police said.
Heckard had been in recovery for addiction to cocaine and other illegal drugs.
In late December, the City of Seattle settled Heckard's lawsuit. He recently received a $100,000 (NZD$135,335) payment from the $150,000 settlement.
The parties agreed that other $50,000 (NZD$67,667) would go to survivor resources: $25,000 (NZD$33,833) to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, $12,500 (NZD$16,916) to the Harborview Sexual Assault & Trauma Unit, and $12,500 to the Silent Task Force.
Heckard's lawyer Lincoln Beauregard told the Times that he had set up a trust account for Heckard's payout so he wouldn't spend the money too quickly.
In his bombshell lawsuit, Heckard said that Murray "raped and molested him" over several years beginning in 1986, when Heckard was a 15-year-old crack cocaine addict and Murray was in his 30s.
Heckard declined anonymity and spoke out publicly about his claims in the case.
"Once people hear me talk, they'll be able to feel my spirit, and they'll have no doubts that what I'm saying is true," Heckard said in an interview last spring.
In the subsequent months, four other men came forward with public accusations against Murray.
On September 12, Murray's cousin, Joseph Dyer, gave an interview claiming Murray had molested him for over a year when he was 13 and Murray was in his early 20s.
Murray resigned from office just hours after the interview was published.
When news of the resignation came out, Heckard broke down in an emotional interview with the Times.
"I mean, at least the public knows that everything I was saying was the truth, right," he said, sobbing.
"I'm not just some crackhead, some criminal, some street kid. I was telling the truth."