A 55-year-old man from New York City attending D.C.’s Mid-Atlantic Leather events last weekend died Sunday evening, Jan. 19, of natural causes in his room at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, according to D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson.
“It was purely natural causes,” said Parson, who oversees the Metropolitan Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit. “It was a medical emergency.”
Parson told the Washington Blade that because it was a natural death and there were no signs of foul play, police will not disclose the deceased individual’s name. Parson said he wanted to inform the community about what he called an unfortunate occurrence at the otherwise successful MAL weekend events to dispel rumors that might surface suggesting something other than a death by natural causes.
One unfounded rumor came to the Blade on Monday by email from a leather enthusiast in Florida who said he learned through “social media” that four people associated with MAL may have been arrested over the weekend and the death was being “swept under the rug.”
“There were no arrests related to anything involving MAL this weekend,” Parson said. “I am absolutely certain of that.”
He said he could not say for sure if someone participating in MAL was arrested at one of the numerous private parties or unofficial activities that participants may have attended.
The person who emailed the Blade said he did not attend MAL and did not know who it was that claimed arrests were made.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 people were expected to participate in D.C.’s annual MAL events that took place Jan. 17-20 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near Capitol Hill and other venues, including the local gay bars DC Eagle, Green Lantern, and Uproar.
A spokesperson for MAL couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the death of the MAL attendee.