PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – A stagehand who had worked for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for 20 years died Saturday morning after falling while working on a stage where the festival is held.

In a written statement, Goldenvoice, the production company behind the festival, confirmed the death and expressed their grief over the loss:

“Today, Goldenvoice lost a colleague, a friend, a family member. Our friend fell while working on a festival stage. It is with heavy hearts and tremendous difficulty that we confirm his passing. He has been with our team for twenty years in the desert and was doing what he loved. He was a hard-working and loving person that cared deeply about his team. As our lead rigger, he was responsible for the countless incredible shows that have been put on at the festival. We will miss him dearly.”

Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said police received a call around 9:30 a.m. Saturday about an accident on the Empire Polo Club grounds.

Guitron said a worker in the staging area had fallen and died at the scene. In a tweet, Cal Fire reported a “traumatic injury” and said a person “fell from a roof and perished at the scene.”  

Guitron said the fire department notified Cal/OSHA about the industrial accident. 

TMZ has reported that an eyewitness said the worker was climbing the stage scaffolding and fell about 60 feet. 

In 2014, an Oakland woman collapsed during the music festival and later died at a local hospital. At the time, investigators hadn’t ruled out a drug overdose as the cause of death.

Follow Shane Newell on Twitter: @journoshane. 

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