Burning Man Staffer Dies on the Playa

A longtime Burning Man staffer helping with festival preparations has died on the playa, the site of the annual festival, Burning Man organizers announced on their blog Friday.

Scott "Spoono" Stephenson passed away overnight "in the city he loved most," organizers said.

Stephenson, who was in his late 50s, died of apparent natural causes, Perishing County officials said. He had been in Gerlach and on the playa since April, helping transform the stretch of desert that becomes Black Rock City from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7.

"His passing will have an enormous impact on the Burning Man community," the blog said.

“Spoono has been a fixture of our DPW since 2005,” said Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell. “In 2005 he was one of the first to depart for Mississippi to help residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, working, among other things, as a cook for the team that grew to become Burners Without Borders. He will be missed by many of us including myself.”

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