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Reporter, Cornwall native dies in Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Matthew Power, a Cornwall native who went on to become a highly respected and well-regarded outdoors writer, died of an apparent heatstroke in a Ugandan jungle while on assignment for the magazine Men’s Journal.
Power, 39, had accompanied British explorer Levison Wood while he tried to walk the length of the Nile River. Power died a few hours after collapsing and losing consciousness on Monday, and his travel companions believe the cause of death was heatstroke.
Asan Kasingye, the head of Interpol in Uganda, said his staff in northern Uganda reported early Monday that Power died suddenly after collapsing in Ajai game reserve in northern Uganda.
“I was informed that he just dropped dead on his own,” Kasingye said.
The U.S. Embassy in Uganda is helping to repatriate Power’s remains to Uganda’s capital, Kampala, where an autopsy will be performed, he said.
Men’s Journal said in a statement that Power was “a true adventurer and a principled, ethical journalist who never failed to put the accuracy of the story and the fairness in his depiction of a person, place, or situation above what worked for him as a writer.”
He had been on assignment in far-flung, often unpleasant places, covering everything from reckless fireworks displays in Mexico to a man’s quest to walk the entire length of the Amazon. The Independent in 2007 published a story about how Power played a pivotal role in saving 112 community gardens in New York City from development. During the effort to save the gardens, Power dressed like a sunflower and climbed a tree next to city hall to draw attention to the issue.
“Matt chose the hard way when it was the right way, yet somehow never failed to enjoy the journey,” Men’s Journal said of the writer.
Power is the son of Jane Steele of Middlebury and John E. Power of Myrtle Beach, S.C. He also leaves behind his wife, Jessica Benko of Brooklyn, N.Y., and several siblings. He earned a B.A. in English from Middlebury College in 1996. See a full obituary on Page 6A.
As news spread of Power’s death on Tuesday and Wednesday, stories about his life and eulogies sprung up around the Internet, including on Huffington Post and New York Daily News.
Outside, another U.S. magazine for which Power wrote, spoke highly on Tuesday of his reporting.
“He was a fearless and compassionate journalist who did terrific work for Outside, most recently from Costa Rica, where he reported an astounding story on the murder of a sea turtle activist,” the magazine said in a statement. “He wrote with grace and humor and was always curious. He was tough but treated his story subjects with the utmost respect.”

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