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Foul play no longer suspected in Pemberton Music Festival death

Pemberton Music Festival

Rob Loud/The Globe and Mail

Police say foul play is no longer believed to be responsible for the death of a man at the Pemberton Music Festival last weekend.

Sergeant Jennifer Pound of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said in a statement Wednesday that investigators looked at autopsy results, evidence at the scene and witness statements and concluded Nick Phongsavath was not murdered.

"Foul play is not a contributing factor in his death," Sgt. Pound said in the brief statement.

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But Sgt. Pound did not say how the 21-year-old engineering student from Regina died.

More than 20,000 concert-goers gathered at the Pemberton Music Festival, held 30 kilometres north of Whistler, to party and listen to Nine Inch Nails, Outkast, Deadmau5, Soundgarden and other bands.

Phongsavath's body, police say, was found inside his tent just after 6 p.m. Friday.

RCMP said over the weekend that "it appeared that there may be indications of foul play" and handed the investigation off to IHIT as a possible suspicious death.

But with the conclusion that no foul play was involved, the investigation has now been handed over to the Pemberton RCMP detachment

The family issued a statement through the RCMP thanking police and the festival for "allowing us to have closure and supporting us through our journey to Pemberton, our time here and making it easier for us to deal with this tragedy."

The family also asked the media for privacy.

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The festival, which in the past had been marred by organizational problems, has developed into one of the most popular music events in British Columbia, drawing large crowds from across Western Canada and the U.S.

Fans camp in grassy fields with mountains providing a dramatic backdrop to three stages where more than 50 bands perform over five days.

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