Burning Man founder Larry Harvey dies aged 70

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Harvey is survived by his son Tristan, his brother Stewart, his nephew Bryan, and "a global community of devoted Burning Man participants inspired by his vision to build a more creative, cooperative, and generous world", according to a tribute to Larry written by his close friend of over 25 years, Stuart Mangrum.

It features giant interactive art installations and a huge wooden man that is burnt at the end of the event.

Burning Man is now a revered weeklong annual event that takes place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, north of Reno, but there is no firm consensus on whether it is a spiritual retreat, performance art, a music festival, a construction project or just an excuse to party in the middle of scorching heat and dust storms.

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Harvey had been hospitalized after suffering a massive stroke earlier this month.

Burning Man represents utopian ideals about society and consumerism, and Harvey outlined them in the 10 Principles of Burning Man. "And he said, 'Can you say that again?' And I did and we did it". The event moved to Nevada in 1990. Harvey was also an activist, artist and philanthropist.

The AP once described Burning Man as "an esoteric mix of pagan fire ritual and sci-fi Dada circus where some paint their bodies, bang drums, dance naked and wear costumes that would draw stares in a Mardi Gras parade".

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It wasn't until afterward, Harvey recalled, that he had the epiphany that led to Burning Man.

"As he told one of us recently, Larry liked to create "scenes" that made people consider the world in a new way". He was 100 percent authentic to his core. One ticket to Burning Man can range anywhere from $425 to $1,200.

Lee Harvey's loss is sorely felt by the countless people whose lives and worldviews have been affected by Burning Man and the culture that has sprung up around it, but his name and his message will continue to reverberate across the playa and beyond for years to come. Last year, a man died after running into the burning flames and suffering burns on nearly his entire body. In 1996, three people were injured when a drunken driver ran over their tent. In 2007, a man was charged with arson after setting the Burning Man ablaze four days early.

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Some critics often likened Harvey to guru leading a cult, though he resisted that depiction.