Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey dies aged 70

A statement released on the event’s website confirmed Harvey passed away on April 4 following a stroke

The co-founder of Burning Man has died at the age of 70 following a stroke earlier this month, the event’s organisers have confirmed.

A statement on Burning Man’s website confirmed that Harvey died on April 4, 2018.

The statement, written by Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell, read: “Our founder, friend, and original instigator, Larry Harvey has passed away. Larry suffered a massive stroke at his home on the morning of April 4.


“We resolutely held out for a miracle. If there was anyone tenacious, strong-willed and stubborn enough to come back from this challenge, it was Larry. Though we all hoped he would recover, he passed peacefully this morning at 8:24am in San Francisco, with members of his family at his side.”

The statement went on to praise Harvey and his commitment to the event, which is held each year in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

Goodell added: “Larry was never one for labels. He didn’t fit a mold; he broke it with the way he lived his life. He was 100% authentic to his core.

“For all of us who knew or worked with him, he was a landscape gardener, a philosopher, a visionary, a wit, a writer, an inspiration, an instigator, a mentor, and at one point a taxi driver and a bike messenger.

“He was always a passionate advocate for our culture and principles that emanate from the Burning Man experience in the Black Rock Desert.”


Harvey is survived by his son Triston, brother Stewart, nephew Bryan and the “global community of devoted Burning Man participants inspired by his vision to build a more creative, cooperative, and generous world.”

Founded in 1986 after Harvey and his friend Jerry Goodell celebrated the summer solstice by burning a wooden man on Baker Beach in San Francisco, the event moved to Black Rock Desert in 1990.

Described as a community rather than a festival, the event sees 70,000 people gather in a temporarily city erected in the desert. The event features interactive art installations and performers and culminates in the burning of a huge wooden man.

Celebrities including Katy Perry, Rihanna and Will Smith have all been known to attend the event.

In September 2017, a man died after jumping into the flames of the 40ft statue that was burnt during the signature ceremony.