Deaths force cancelation of New York music festival
By Noreen O'Donnell
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An electronic music festival that attracted thousands to New York City's Randall's Island was canceled on Sunday after two concertgoers died of apparent drug overdoses and four others became critically ill.
New York City recommended calling off the third day of the event, Electric Zoo, and festival organizers agreed, city officials said in a statement.
A definitive cause of death had not been determined in either case, but both appeared to involve MDMA, a type of the illegal drug ecstasy that in powder or crystal form is nicknamed Molly, officials said.
"The Electric Zoo organizers have worked with city officials to reduce health risks at this event, but in view of these occurrences, the safest course is to cancel the remaining day of the event," the statement said.
The two concertgoers who died were identified as Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, New York, and a 20-year-old woman from Providence, Rhode Island. The four who fell critically ill were in intensive care in local hospitals, the statement said.
The concert, which began on Friday ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend, last year drew more than 100,000 people to the island, in New York City's East River. Some 125 music acts were planned, including Avicii, David Guetta and Krewella.
"The founders of Electric Zoo send our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who passed away this weekend. Because there is nothing more important to us than our patrons, we have decided in consultation with the New York City Parks Department that there will be no show today," organizers said in a statement.
(Reporting by Noreen O'Donnell; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Steve Orlofsky)
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