The Man was burned Saturday night and many Burners are packing up and heading out of the desert today. But for one Burning Man camp, Sunday night's Temple burn will take on even more somber significance than usual.
33-year-old Shane Billingham, a member of the Beats Boutique camp, was found dead in his van Thursday evening. And as the Reno Gazette-Journal reports, a toxicology report suggests that Billingham died of carbon monoxide poisoning, with "the presence of controlled substances an exacerbating factor." Several friends had gone to visit him at the camp around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and found him unresponsive inside the van.
The toxicology report, shared by the Pershing County Sheriff's Office, said that the concentration of carbon monoxide in Billingham's blood “would be poisonous to human life." The exact circumstance that led to his death remains unclear.
Friends and fellow Burners describe Billingham to the Gazette-Journal as "happy and beautiful and loving," and a sustainable farming enthusiast who had been coming to Burning Man for at least four years.
Others have been posting to his Facebook page, in comments on a post he wrote two weeks ago asking who was coming to Burning Man. "Love you forever Shane , you’re a beautiful kind spirit, I can’t believe you’ve gone," writes one. "My heart bleeds for the loss of our loving and inspiring young friend," writes another.
The final Sunday night at Burning Man, following Saturday's burning of the Man, is traditionally the time that this year's Temple is burned. The Temple is a place for small shrines and remembrances of people lost. This year's Temple, the Temple of Direction, was designed by San Francisco-based architect Geordie Van Der Bosch.
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