The 57 year-old Shankill Road man was discovered badly injured around time today.
It is understood he had fallen on concrete stairs leading to his flat in the Kincaidston district of Ayr where he had lived for over 20 years.
Confirming the death of his friend and fellow loyalist, Johnny Adair said: “Sam is dead. The police have confirmed it to me.
“All the rumours about him being shot or hit with hammers are nonsense.”
“I was speaking to him at lunchtime and he was fine. Neighbours say Sam went out at 3pm and came back at 5pm.” he added.
Sam McCrory served a 16 year sentence when he was convicted of conspiring to murder senior republican Brian Joseph Gillen.
It is known that McCrory had been battling a drink problem for some time, but local people who knew him said he hadn’t touched alcohol for some time and his health had improved as a result.
McCrory was an openly gay man who moved to Scotland after completing his jail sentence.
He was an avid Rangers and Liverpool fan and he often travelled from his home to watch both clubs play.
One of McCrory’s uncles played in the Northern Ireland side which gave a good account of itself in the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden
One person we spoke to said they had a telephone conversation with Sam McCrory this morning and he sounded “in the best of form.”
Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory was known to be a leading member of the UFF C Coy, headed by his life-long friend Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair.
In the early 1990s, he was arrested on Finaghy Railway Bridge and as he tried to tried to escape from a car with fellow members of an C Coy hit team, the British Army opened up on it with rifles.
“If that’s collusion, I wouldn’t like to see what would have happened if they didn’t like us.” he said later.
In the run up to the paramilitary ceasefires in 1994, Sam McCrory represented loyalist prisoners in talks with SDLP leader John Hume and Northern Ireland Secretary of State Mo Mowlam inside the Maze Prison.