Organisers of Diplo festival 'shocked and saddened' by two drug-related deaths

More than 20 revellers were hospitalised

The organisers of the touring Mad Decent Block Party, co-founded by DJ/producer Diplo, are "shocked and saddened" by news that two people died at their event at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia on Friday (August 1).

The Baltimore Sun reported that North Carolina man Tyler Fox Viscardi, 20, was taken from the event to Howard County General Hospital, where he died of a suspected drugs overdose at around 9pm. Police reported that more than 20 others were hospitalised after apparent drug overdoses, and it was later reported by Billboard that a 17-year-old male from Woodbridge, northern Virginia, also died. His name has not been released. Police also issued 50 citations for underage drinking and made three arrests: one for an assault on a police officer, one for domestic assault and one for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

A message posted to the official event page says: "We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news from yesterday's event at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Maryland. Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by this. Right now, we are waiting along with everyone else for more information."

Posting to Twitter on Saturday, Diplo said "we are truly devastated". The DJ performed at the Block Party alongside Sleigh Bells, Flux Pavilion and Wolfgang Gartner.

Seth Hurwitz, operator of Merriweather Post Pavilion, released the following statement: "Our hearts go out to the family as they face the unimaginable. As a parent, it makes me horribly sad beyond words to think of a tragedy like this. We can spend every minute of the day making perfect sense to our children regarding the obvious perils of drugs, but sometimes it is impossible to convince them that this is relevant to their world."

"This particular type of incident is not the problem of those who should have known better... it's the problem of those too young to believe it could happen to them. Sadly we find ourselves in the classic position of trying to tell kids not to do something they think is fun."

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