The story of Peter Beard’s magnificently adventurous life officially ended tonight, when a representative for his family confirmed his death. Earlier in the day detectives from the East Hampton Police Department had been called to a densely wooded area of the Old Montauk Highway where a hunter had founded clothing that matched the description of what Beard was wearing when he went missing.
The 82-year-old, who suffered from dementia, had been reported missing on March 31. His disappearance led to an all-out three-day search by various law enforcement agencies and extensive media coverage. The photographer, adventurer and environmentalist captivated many through the decades for his independent spirit and thrill seeking ways. Beard spent much of his career chronicling Africa with his images and photography books.
A spokeswoman for Beard’s family confirmed his death in a statement issued Sunday night. “We are all heartbroken by the confirmation of our beloved Peter’s death. We want to express our deep gratitude to the East Hampton police and all who aided in their search, and also to thank the many friends of Peter and our family, who have sent messages of love and support, during these dark days.”
The statement continued, “Peter was an extraordinary man, who led an exceptional life. He lived life to the fullest. He squeezed every drop out of every day. He was relentless in his passion for nature, [and he was ] unvarnished and unsentimental, but utterly authentic always. He was an intrepid explorer, unfailingly generous, charismatic and discerning. Peter defined what it means to be open; open to new ideas, new encounters, new people, new ways of living and being. Always insatiably curious, he pursued his passions without restraints and perceived reality through a unique lens. Anyone, who spent time in his company, was swept up by his enthusiasm and his energy. He was a pioneering contemporary artist, who was decades ahead of his time in his efforts to sound the alarm about environmental damage. His visual acuity and elemental understanding of the natural environment was fostered by his long stays in the bush and the ‘wild-deer-ness’ he loved and defended. He died where he lived: in nature. We will miss him every day.”
After detectives from the East Hampton Police Department had been called to the densely wooded area in Montauk, a search of Camp Hero Park was conducted, according to a statement issued by the East Hampton Police Department. The search resulted in investigators finding the remains of an elderly man whose physique and clothing matched those of Beard’s, according to the police-issued press statement. The East Hampton Police Department’s detectives worked in conjunction with the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The investigation remains ongoing, according to the East Hampton Police Department. A spokeswoman for the department declined further comment Sunday night.