Larry Harvey, one of the founders of the Burning Man festival, died in San Francisco on April 4 after suffering from a stroke. He was 70.
The official Burning Man website announced the death of Harvey. “We resolutely held out for a miracle,” a statement on the website said in regards to his stroke. “If there was anyone tenacious, strong-willed and stubborn enough to come back from this challenge, it was Larry.”
The statement continues, “Larry would be the first to say this isn’t an ending, but the start of a new chapter, and we all have a hand in where we go from here.”
A San Francisco native and known as “The Man in the Hat,” Harvey was an artist, philanthropist and activist. In 1986, he started Burning Man with his friend Jerry James. The festival started off small and was a summer solstice evening ritual where they would burn their creation of an effigy of a man. What started off as a modest event with 12 people soon grew to 800. Now the event has grown global as over 60,000 people from around the world set up a temporary city in the Black Rock Desert for 8 days. With numerous large-scale art installations, attendees party and celebrate until the culmination and origin of the festival: the ritual burning of the giant titular effigy. The event has become a cultural landmark which many actors and Hollywood figures participate.
Harvey also appeared in the 2013 documentary Spark: A Burning Man Story directed by Steve Brown and Jessie Deeter. The docu gave a behind-the-scenes look at the cultural phenomenon of Burning Man.