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Retreat leader speaks out over sweat lodge deaths

AP | DAISY NGUYEN and FELICIA FONSECA | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

LOS ANGELES — The self-help expert who led a spiritual retreat in Arizona where two people were overcome in a sweat lodge and later died has spoken out about the tragedy, saying it has left him "frustrated and confused."

At a seminar outside Los Angeles, James Arthur Ray broke down in tears as he addressed the deaths of Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee.

Authorities say Brown, Shore and more than 50 other people attending the retreat near Sedona, Ariz., were crowded into a 415-square-foot sweat lodge during a two-hour period Thursday.

Brown and Shore died, and 19 others people were hurt. One remains in critical condition.

"This is the most difficult time I've ever faced," Ray told a crowd of about 200 at a hotel in Marina del Rey Tuesday. "I don't know how to deal with it really."