Burning Man Founder Suffers Massive Stroke

Larry Harvey survived a very serious stroke, but remains hospitalized and his prognosis in unknown.

Heartbreaking news broke today for the Burning Man community. Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey, the 70-year-old iconoclast known for his wide-brimmed cowboy hat and dry wit, has suffered what is described as a “massive stroke.” Harvey remains in critical condition in an unnamed hospital.

Details are brief, but a notice was posted in a community announcement on the Burning Man blog. “Our founder and friend Larry Harvey is currently hospitalized after suffering a massive stroke on Wednesday, April 4,” it reads. “Larry remains in critical condition. While his prognosis is unknown at this time, Larry is receiving excellent round-the-clock medical care and constant companionship from his family and very close friends.

“While this is a challenging time, we are encouraged by our community’s ability to come together when it matters most,” the post continues. “Some have asked how this may affect our organization and our operations going forward. Rest assured, Burning Man and Black Rock City 2018 will go on. If there’s one thing we know for sure, Larry wants us to burn the Man.”

While Harvey’s famous gathering in the desert turned him into a recognizable cultural icon, he’s always been known to hang out and shoot the shit with regular everyday Burning Man attendees. Harvey has remained pretty active in the Burning Man Project nonprofit that now runs the event, and he’s still involved in creating the annual theme, naming the streets in Black Rock City, and designing the actual wooden Man that gets burned.

Harvey is not the sole founder of Burning Man, he co-founded the event with Cacophony Society personality John  Law. The two had a falling out as the event grew in magnitude (and risk). But Harvey shepherded the event into its current annual attendance of 70,000, with a year-round full-time staff, a long list of regional Burning Man events, and awards annual art grants in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Burning Man Project does not have and detailed medical updates at this time. But their website says, “For those who would to like to send messages directly to Larry and his family or share reflections more privately, please email TheHat@burningman.org.”

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