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'He was a remarkable person'

Tributes pour in to Facebook memorial for Langley teen, Kato Burgess, who died Sunday after reportedly taking ecstasy
Langley teen Kato Burgess, shown here in a photo posted to Facebook by Natasha Pilkington, died on Sunday morning after reportedly taking ecstasy. There have been five ecstasy-related deaths in B.C. in the past six months.

More than 150 people are mourning Kato Burgess on Facebook, after the Langley teen died Sunday morning.

The 16-year-old had reportedly taken ecstasy Saturday night with friends. A Facebook group – In Loving Memory of Kato Burgess – mourns his death and is full of testimonials, tributes, links to songs and news stories, and even advice about choosing your friends wisely and not doing drugs.

The Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School student's death is the latest fatality potentially related to the use of ecstasy, the B.C. Coroners Service said in a release, noting that toxicology testing will be completed as quickly as possible to determine whether the use of ecstasy was a factor in the death and if so, whether the ecstasy tablet included the presence of PMMA (paramethoxymethamphetamine).

PMMA has been linked to five ecstasy-related deaths in B.C. in the past six months, the BCCS announced last week, with two of those deaths occurring this month. PMMA has also been linked to several recent deaths in Alberta.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 15, the boy was heard to collapse, and one of the others nearby called 911," says the BCCS.

"Paramedics attended quickly and transported the boy to Langley Memorial Hospital. He could not be revived."

One Facebook group friend, Bobbi Gerrior, remembers Burgess as "the kind of person you always wanted around."

"If you needed to talk or just a shoulder to cry on, Kato was always there no matter where or what time," Gerrior writes in a Facebook post.

"He was a remarkable person with an absolutely beautiful soul."

Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe says this latest death again emphasizes the point that every ingestion of ecstasy is a risk as there is no way of determining the actual ingredients of a drug concocted for profit in an unregulated environment.

Even though ecstasy is often thought to be a recreational drug rather than an addictive one, "There is no known safe dose," Lapointe stressed.

The BCCS is continuing to work closely with police and health authorities regarding these deaths.