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Medora Musical's Westin dies Friday

FARGO -- Wade Westin thanked his wife for making Tuesday a great day before the Bismarck couple went to sleep.

But something went wrong in the night for the 34-year-old who has become the face of the Medora Musical.

"He had put his arm around her like he does every night and his arm went stiff," recalled friend and colleague Tammy Backhaus Friday. "So she turned over to see what was wrong and he had already stopped breathing."

Westin died Friday night at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, said Randy Hatzenbuhler, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

Friends and family braced themselves as Westin was hospitalized. He was placed into a medically induced coma and his condition worsened overnight Thursday, according to Facebook pages and a CaringBridge site updating his status.

Backhaus, project coordinator with North Dakota Tourism, said she worked closely with Westin, who was the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation marketing and public relations director.

Westin performed in the musical as a young man and loved promoting the show, Backhaus said.

He and his wife, Lesley, spent their summers in Medora, N.D., but lived in Bismarck the rest of the year, Backhaus said.

The foundation is planning to set up a fund for Westin's two children - Hanna, 4 and Wyatt, 2, Backhaus said.

Nearly 800 people had joined two Facebook groups to support Westin and nearly 8,000 views had been logged onto a CaringBridge site for him Friday night.

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