French Canadian composer and musician Julien Gauthier died tragically last week while on a camping expedition in Canada’s Northwest Territories after he was mauled to death by a bear who entered his campsite in the middle of the night.
Gauthier, 44, was dragged from his tent while he and his traveling companion Camille Toscani were sleeping near the Mackenzie River on Thursday, French outlet Le Parisien reported.
After being alerted by an emergency beacon signal, Royal Canadian Mounted Police found Gauthier’s body on Friday afternoon, and said that “evidence in the investigation confirms a bear encounter,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
The emergency signal came south of the remote Tulita, an area that can only be accessed by air or water. Police are investigating the incident and are working with both the NWT Coroner Service and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, according to CBC.
The outlet also said that both a grizzly bear and black bear found in the area were killed on Friday, and authorities will conduct necropsies to determine if either animal were involved in the fatal attack.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, encounters with bears in the area are not uncommon, but “fatalities are rare,” the CBC reported.
Gauthier’s friends and family said that it had been a childhood dream of his to explore the remote wilderness, and had been planning his adventure for three years. He had planned to use the experience as inspiration for a new music project in collaboration with Toscani, a biologist, and a cellist.
“It was his dream to go there, to go to the north,” Toscani told Le Parisien. “He asked me to take part in this adventure, which he had been thinking about for three years. … He was a unique artist, he was inspired by the great outdoors and by nature.”
Gauthier was also an associate artist at the Brittany Symphony Orchestra, which posted of his death in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of our road companion, the composer and associate artist of the symphonic orchestra of Brittany, Julien Gauthier,” said Marc Feldman, a manager at the symphony.
“He was a sensitive, generous and talented man that many of us had the chance to know by his work and the gift of his friendship,” Feldman continued. “His work was faithful to his curious spirit, humble in front of the vast power and beauty of nature. First of all, he wanted to transmit by his music to the public his love and respect for nature.”
“On a personal note, I am extremely happy to have known Julien,” Feldman added. “He brought me a sense of adventure, wonder and a rare intelligence. I’m gonna miss him terribly. We still had so much way to go together.”
On August 7, Gauthier posted an update on his trip to Facebook, saying that in the previous five days he and Toscani had gone three days without “having met soul who lives… apart from 4 Bears.”
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