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California student dies on hiking trip with fraternity: reports

(Reuters) - A California university fraternity has been ordered to stop all activities after a student died on hiking trip with group members in the Angeles National Forest, the university said, according to local media.

A 19-year-old California State University-Northridge student died on Tuesday after running out of water and passing out, local media quoted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department as saying.

The university was investigating the incident involving the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, which it had ordered to "cease and desist" all activities, school spokeswoman Carmen Ramos Chandler said, according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

The reports could not be independently confirmed by Reuters. The university and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Family members of the man, identified by the Times as Aramando Villa, were quoted in local media expressing shock and raising the possibility that the student died on a trip somehow related to "pledging" or joining the fraternity.

A woman who identified herself Villa's aunt told a local ABC-affiliate he went hiking as part of a fraternity function and that he was found barefoot with his feet blistered.

"He was trying to get into this fraternity," the relative, Maria Castaneda, was quoted by the television station as saying.

The cause of death was being investigated.

A sheriff's official said a forest ranger found the stranded group and that the victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Los Angeles Times reported.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Larry King)

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