He was born in Van Nuys, Calif., and moved with his family to Pagosa Springs, Colo., at age 9, in the fall of 1986.
He graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1995. He played varsity basketball for the Pirates and was a brilliant mathematician.
He learned to hunt and fish, ski and snowboard, and spent time camping in and around the area.
At age 14, he started working at the Moose River Pub, perfecting his culinary skills and becoming a chef.
After leaving the restaurant business, he began working as a groundskeeper with his brother-in-law at the Bass brothers’ vacation retreat estate here in Pagosa. On Aug. 21, 2017, Mr. Syd Bass flew M’Kai on his private jet to Nebraska to view the total eclipse.
M’Kai loved going to concerts, especially Joe Satriani, Smashing Pumpkins and Rush.
Every March for his birthday, he went to Las Vegas for the NASCAR races. He loved Halloween and also had amazing costumes, from a giant Gumby to many superheroes, the last being the Black Panther.
He is preceded in death by his father, Michael Arnold, grandfather Myrel Arnold, step-grandfather Brian Leewitt and maternal grandparents Jack and Phyllis Barrett.
He is survived by his mother, M’Liss Arnold, and grandmother Betty Leewitt, of Pagosa Springs; sister and brother-in-law Mea and Josh La Croix, of Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., sister Vikki Barrett and nephew Danny Barrett, of Hesperia, Calif.; aunt and uncle Dena and Mark Sudden, of Phoenix, Ariz.; aunt Tracy Renfrow, of Apple Valley, Calif., uncles Brian and Kevin Leewitt, of Pagosa Springs; uncle Darin Leewitt of Las Vegas, Nev.; niece and nephew Reilly and Josh La Croix; and many cousins and other family members and friends.
M’Kai was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be greatly missed. The world has lost a beautiful soul. Rest in peace, my son.