SAN FRANCISCO >> Larry Harvey, whose whimsical decision to erect a giant wooden figure and then burn it to the ground led to the popular, long-running counterculture celebration known as “Burning Man,” has died. He was 70.
Harvey died Saturday morning at a hospital in San Francisco, surrounded by family, Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell said. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Longtime friend Stuart Mangrum posted on the organization’s website that Harvey did not believe in “any sort of existence” after death.
“Now that he’s gone, let’s take the liberty of contradicting him, and keep his memory alive in our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions,” Mangrum wrote. “As he would have wished it, let us always Burn the Man.”
Burning Man takes place annually the week before Labor Day in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The week-long summer festival attracts some 70,000 people to a dry lake bed 100 miles east of Reno.
Friends and family toasted Harvey on Saturday as a visionary, a lover of words and books, a mentor and instigator who challenged others to look at the world in new ways. “Burners,” as they’re called, left comments on the organization’s website thanking Harvey for inspiring them and for creating a community.
“Thanks for everything. (No, really, pretty much everything in my life right now is a result of Burning Man.),” read one post.
His brother, Stewart Harvey, said in a post Saturday that the two were adopted by farmers Arthur “Shorty” and Katherine Harvey and grew up outside of Portland, Ore. The brothers were close, he said, even though they didn’t share the same blood.