Nova Scotia

Evolve Festival death was from natural causes, says medical examiner

The death of a 21-year-old P.E.I. man in the days after he attended this year's Evolve Festival was from natural causes, according to the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner's Office.

Dylan Jonathan Avery Champion, of Summerside, P.E.I., died on July 14 at a Halifax hospital

Dylan Jonathan Avery Champion of Summerside, P.E.I., died of natural causes after attending this summer's Evolve Festival, according to the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner's Office. (Facebook)

The death of a 21-year-old P.E.I. man in the days after he attended this year's Evolve Music and Awareness Festival was from natural causes, according to the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner's Office.

A government spokesperson confirmed the medical examiner's decision on Thursday.

Dylan Jonathan Avery Champion, of Summerside, died on July 14 after he was airlifted to a Halifax hospital.

"They said he died of a seizure," said Clifford Desroches, Champion's grandfather. 

"We don't blame it on the festival. We know he had a seizure. He had had one five or six months earlier at work and, well, it came back again. This time he wasn't prepared and no one was prepared." 

Champion was initially admitted to St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S. — where the festival takes place — on July 12 after a cardiac arrest.

First responders had resuscitated him at the festival and he collapsed again on the way to the hospital.

Dr. Maureen Allen, the hospital's director of emergency services, said in July that the people who were with Champion at the festival told emergency workers that he had consumed mushrooms.

She also said it was difficult to determine exactly which drug he was on.

Desroches said the decision has brought closure for Champion's mother.

"She's kind of relieved because up until she got the word yesterday she was taking it pretty hard. So was I. So was all the family," he said. "He was a fine young boy."

Precautions for next year's festival

Nova Scotia RCMP Const. Mark Skinner says the investigation into the circumstances around Champion's death has ended and his death is not suspicious.

The festival's organizer said Champion's death was a tragedy and it has prompted him to work with local emergency officials.

Jonas Colter told CBC News he and Allen had a meeting last week.

"Fortunately for Evolve — and the town and county of Antigonish — Maureen has agreed to help us with an operation plan for procedure and protocol just to ensure the health and safety and welfare of attendees that come to Evolve," he said.

"It's the responsibility for event promoters and festival promoters especially to do due diligence, to do as much as you can. You're basically having a big house party and as host, you're trying to do everything you can to keep people safe and happy."


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