Matthew Jason Spurlock was riding a black Suzuki motorcycle Sunday morning near a market in Northern Thailand when it crashed into a construction barrier and he died, according to Thai media reports.
The 39-year-old from Prestonsburg had been traveling through Eastern Asia for the past couple of months.
“Jason couldn’t sit still,” Spurlock’s sister Destiny Heilig said. “It was hard for him to be satisfied in one place for long.”
Heilig and her family have spent the past 48 hours dealing with costly logistical challenges to get Spurlock’s body from Thailand to the United States.
Spurlock’s body had to be identified, then his family had to wire money to a Thai funeral home for it to retrieve his body and prepare it for travel to the United States. The Thai funeral home told Heilig that, legally, it could send Spurlock’s body only as far as Chicago. Then it has to be taken to a funeral home in Prestonsburg.
Heilig said her accent has made the language barrier more difficult, but the hardest thing has been “the thought of him being there alone.”
Prestonsburg, a town of about 3,000, isn’t a place where people feel alone or isolated, she said.
Since Spurlock’s death, friends and neighbors have shared clips online of him from a high school talent show and reminisced about when the high school football team went to the state championship.
“I could walk into Wal-Mart right now, and 95 percent of Wal-Mart would hug me and tell me a story about Jason,” Heilig said.
A GoFundMe page created by Heilig to help cover funeral costs had raised more than $16,600 toward its goal of $18,000 by Tuesday evening.
“I was looking through it, and there are people ... that they still live in Eastern Kentucky and they’re working two jobs and have two kids,” she said. “I know that they don’t have a spare $20, but they donated on that account.”
Relatives said they expect Spurlock’s body to be back in Prestonsburg by Monday.