Two People Died at Sunset Music Festival in Florida

UPDATE: an autopsy report released on Monday said that ecstasy abuse was responsible for the two deaths.

by Anna Codrea-Rado
Jun 1 2016, 3:15pm

Photo via Facebook

UPDATE: According to an autopsy report released by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday, ecstasy abuse was responsible for the two deaths, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Two people died of suspected drug-related causes at the Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, Florida over the Memorial Day weekend.

Katie Bermudez, 21, and Alex Haynes, 22, were among 57 people taken to the hospital from the 30,000-person attended EDM festival at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Hayes was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital on Saturday night and died the following day. Bermudez was transported to the hospital on Sunday night, and died on Monday.

Speaking to Fox 13, Nancy Bermudez, Katie's mother, said she didn't yet know what caused her daughter's death but that hospital staff alluded to possible drug-related deaths at the festival.

"They have an autopsy going on. The hospital was bewildered with how to treat this," she told the TV network.

Mary Mainland, Hillsborough County's Chief Medical Examiner told THUMP an investigation into the causes of the two deaths is currently underway. "The cause and manner of death of each of these individuals is pending further investigation, including toxicological analysis," she said.

The Sunset Music Festival, which included performances from Hardwell, Jack Ü, and Marshmello, issued a statement saying that the health and safety of patrons is the festival's "first priority and we take every measure to create a safe environment at our events." The statement went on to say: "Any loss of life is a tragedy and we extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those affected."

On the festival's website, there are details listed of harm reduction measures taken by the festival, including the provision of free water, medical assistance, and information about the risks of taking drugs. There are also links to educational sites, including a fact sheet on MDMA and the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance's campaign for better drug education.

The mayor of Tampa, Bob Buckhorn said to the Tampa Bay Times: "Obviously, that type of music tends to attract a certain type of fan that engages in certain types of drugs."

He went on to say that the festival should have done more to deter drug use, but acknowledged that attendees also need to take responsibility for their own safety.

In addition to the hospitalizations, Tampa police made 33 arrests at the festival, issued 16 marijuana citations and received four noise complaints.