Hiker, 71, dies in Death Valley hours after being interviewed about extreme heat

An outdoor enthusiast died hiking in Death Valley National Park, the world’s hottest place.

Steve Curry, 71, collapsed after spending hours in the park in Southern California, US, where temperatures reached 53°C on Sunday.

Officials believe he died from heat-related issues.

Mr Curry’s death occurred just hours after speaking to a Los Angeles Times reporter about hiking in the heat while he took a break for some rare shade under a metal interpretative sign.

‘Why do I do it?’ he said when asked why he hiked in such extreme conditions. ‘Why not?’

Just hours later he collapsed outside the restroom at Golden Canyon.

Mr Curry’s wife, Rima Evans, said: ‘He went having accomplished something he wanted to do.

‘He wanted to go to Death Valley. He wanted to do a hike.’

The famed National Park that runs along part of central California’s border with Nevada is known as the hottest place on Earth and has recorded sweltering temperatures during a record-warm summer.

On Sunday, temperatures reached 53°C at Death Valley’s aptly named Furnace Creek, the National Weather Service said.

The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 57°C in July 1913 at the same location.

Curry was an avid hiker who had joined a rock climbing group and taken wilderness training courses.

Ms Evans Curry said her husband, who had worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District and as an electrician before retiring a decade ago, headed to the outdoors whenever he had the chance.

‘He was always happiest when he could be out there sleeping under the stars,’ she said.

‘That was his joy.’

Curry is the second hiker to die in the park this month.

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