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Burning Man 2023 death: Suspected cause, identity released

Rainwater puddles in front of the Man effigy at Burning Man 2023. | Source: Maryann Jones Thompson for The Standard

The identity of a man who died at Burning Man 2023 has been released as Leon Reece, 32, of Truckee, California, according to the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The cause and manner of death are pending investigation, but drug intoxication is suspected,” the medical examiner’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Reece was pronounced dead by a doctor and festival officials before Pershing County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene on Friday at around 6:24 p.m., officials said.

Burning Man Festival and medical personnel were administering CPR to the male,” the sheriff’s office said. “Due to the unusual rain event happening on the playa, access to the area and investigative efforts were delayed.”

Deputies said they performed a preliminary investigation of the immediate area. The investigation included interviews with witnesses and medical responders at the scene.

The sheriff’s office said the death is still being investigated, and it will release more information as it becomes available. An autopsy is now being conducted and could take six to eight weeks to complete.

Joe Burn can be reached at