British Columbia

B.C. woman killed in explosion in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Friends and family identify victim as Laurie Ryan, an artist from West Kelowna, B.C.

July 03, 2018

West Kelowna artist Laurie Ryan at the Peachland Art Gallery in December 2017. Ryan was killed in an explosion at a resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (Laurie Ryan/Instagram)

A British Columbia woman has died after an explosion last week at a resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Friends and family have identified the victim as Laurie Ryan, an artist from West Kelowna, B.C.

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Ryan's professional website confirmed her death "with deep sadness."

Global Affairs Canada confirmed in an email to CBC News on Monday that a Canadian had been killed.

'Zeal for life'

Terri Nunenmacher, a close friend and former neighbour of Ryan's from when she lived in Gautier, Miss., said she was "terribly shocked" to hear the news. 

"She leaves behind a huge gap that no one else will be able to fill," she said. "Her zeal for life was more than anyone I've ever met before." 

Nunenmacher said Ryan was vacationing in Mexico with her husband, Gary, and a few other couples.

West Kelowna artist Laurie Ryan had paintings in galleries across Mississippi and B.C. (Terri Nunenmacher)

On the night of the explosion, the group had spent an "incredible evening" out when they all returned to the resort for the evening. 

Nunenmacher would only say that the incident is still under investigation, and no one else was injured. 

Besides her husband, Ryan also leaves behind her two sons in their 20s, Matthew and Kristoffer. Nunenmacher said the family is taking in the tragedy day by day. 

'Talented artist'

Ryan was a well respected artist with paintings in galleries across Mississippi and B.C., Nunenmacher said. 

"She never looked at a sky without appreciating the colours, the patterns," she said. 

A Facebook post from the New Moon Gallery, which showed Ryan's work, said she was a "talented artist."

"She was inspiring, full of life, caring, funny, eager to learn, a great artist companion, always exploring," the post read. "The list is long."

Ryan moved to West Kelowna in 2014, according to her website. She was originally from the Prairies.

Cabo San Lucas is a resort city in Mexico. (Shutterstock)

Global Affairs spokesperson Austin Jean said consular officials are providing assistance to the victim's family and are working with local authorities to gather additional information. 

"Our thoughts are with family and friends during this difficult time," Jean said.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

With files from Maryse Zeidler and Rhianna Schmunk
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