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Forrest Fenn died at home surrounded by his family

Forrest Fenn

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe artifact collector and author Forrest Fenn never regained consciousness after falling at his home the morning of the day he died. After a trip to the hospital, he was taken back home, where he died surrounded by family members.

Fenn may have had a heart attack and had signed a do not resuscitate order in 2017, according to a report from Santa Fe police officers, who responded to a call at his home on Monday.

The report states that a caregiver found Fenn unconscious on the floor of the study at about 8:30 a.m. The caregiver said that she went to check on him because by that time he was usually in the kitchen making waffles for her, his wife Peggy, and himself as part of the normal routine.

Family members were quickly summoned and an ambulance was called to take him to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

Still unconscious, Fenn was returned home “to be with his wife before passing away a short time later,” according to the report.

Present at the time were Fenn’s wife of 66 years, Peggy, their daughters Kelly Sparks and Zoe Old and their husbands, and their three grandchildren.

An investigator with the Office of Medical Investigator pronounced Fenn’s time of death at approximately 5:04 p.m.

There were no indications of foul play or suspicious activity, according to the report, which said first responders were initially dispatched to the home in reference to a cardiac arrest.

Fenn, 90, wrote a 2010 memoir titled “The Thrill of the Chase” that included a 24-line poem containing clues to locate a treasure chest full of gems, jewels and artifacts said to be worth more than $1 million that he had hid “in the mountains north of Santa Fe.” He said the idea was meant to inspire people to get out of the house and explore the outdoors.

More than 300,000 people participated in the treasure hunt, according to some estimates. The hunt ended in June, however, when Fenn announced that an unidentified man had found the treasure.

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