MANCHESTER, Tenn. – Authorities are still awaiting the autopsy results of a man who died at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (search), but witnesses said he seemed to suffer from a medical disorder called sleep apnea (search).
The 32-year-old Huntsville, Ala., man was found dead Saturday morning. A cause of death has not been determined and his name has not been released.
But Monica Lambert, a local nurse who tried to help the man, said the victim's friends told her he suffered from the medical disorder in which the throat passage is narrow and becomes blocked by the throat muscles when they relax, cutting off the person's supply of oxygen.
Lambert said most people with the problem are awakened by it and continue breathing, but if the condition is severe enough, it can cause heart failure. The disorder is more common in obese or overweight people.
Lambert, who estimated the victim weighed about 260 pounds, said emergency crews administered CPR but couldn't revive him.
"He was already pretty blue by the time we got on the scene," she said. "So he had probably been dead for a while."
The man is the first to die at this year's festival, which has drawn roughly 75,000 music fans and revelers to a 700-acre Manchester farm. Two festivalgoers died last year of drug overdoses, the first for the festival that began in 2002.
Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the Alabama man's campsite Saturday and there were no signs of trauma.
"His friends were pretty adamant that he did not do drugs," Lambert said. "He was just here to have some fun and to listen to music."
Drug use is common at the event. Last year officers confiscated an array of drugs when they arrested 27 people and issued 132 citations for drug violations.
Festival planners had a plan in place this year to try to prevent more deaths, hiring more emergency personnel and special campground ambassadors.