very sad things

Reporter Matthew Power Dies on Assignment for Men’s Journal in Uganda

Matthew Power. Photo: Jessica Benko

Matthew Power, a contributing editor at Harper’s and frequent writer for GQ and Men’s Journal, has passed away at the age of 39. “It is believed that he died of heat stroke and exhaustion” while working in Northern Uganda, reports Outside, another regular home for Power’s dispatches from across the globe. “He was an enormous talent who will be greatly missed.”

Men’s Journal has more details:

Matt was on assignment for Men’s Journal in Uganda – “a classic MJ story” is how he pitched it – accompanying a British explorer, named Levison Wood, while he attempted to walk the length of the Nile. Matt was only dropping in and walking with him for a week, but you got the sense that he’d trudge on as long as it took to get the story and to understand the man he was walking with. On Monday, Matt fell ill, lost consciousness, and died a few hours later. His travel companions believe the cause of death was heatstroke, but we won’t know more until an autopsy is completed later this week.

Power followed stories from Costa Rica, where he tracked endangered leatherback sea turtles, to a garbage dump in the Philippines, and many places in between. “The kind of stories I’ve gotten to do have involved fulfilling my childhood fantasies of having an adventurous life,” he said last year on the Longform podcast, which has compiled just a few of his greatest hits.

Update: Men’s Journal has released the following statement:

We are devastated to confirm that journalist Matthew Power died yesterday while working on a story for Men’s Journal in Uganda. Matt was reporting a story on Levison Wood, a British explorer who is attempting to walk the length of the Nile River. On Monday, Matt fell ill, lost consciousness, and died. His travel companions believe the cause of death was heat stroke, but we will not know for certain until an autopsy is completed. Matt’s body is en route to Kampala with photographer Jason Florio, who was also working on the story, where the autopsy will be done.

No writer better represented (or loved) Men’s Journal as fully as Matt did, and we are proud to have published dozens of stories he wrote over the years. For more than a decade, Matthew Power packed a bag and found his way to some far-flung, often unpleasant, places to report quintessential Men’s Journal stories (the 2008 climbing disaster on K2; a British adventurer walking the Amazon; a wildlife documentarian tracking grizzly bears in Yellowstone, to name just a few) and write them with a clarity and understated grace that most writers can only hope to achieve. 

We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Jess, and to Matt’s family. We will pass along more details as we have them.

Reporter Matthew Power Dies in Uganda