Electronic Dance Music pioneer and nightlife impresario Alejandro “Alex” Omes is at the center of a mystery over his death at his Miami Beach home at the age of 43.
Omes co-founded the Ultra Music Festival in 1999 and it grew into one of the nation’s biggest dance events. He died on the same day the was due to appear in court in a case linked to his acrimonious split from Ultra partner Russell Faibisch.
The Miami Beach medical examiner’s office told Heavy that Omes died on Monday at 10:37 p.m. No other details were provided and the cause of the death remains unknown. His family members insist he was in perfect health at the time.
“The organizers of Ultra Music Festival extend their deepest condolences to the family of Alex Omes and are saddened by the news of his passing,” said Ultra in a statement to Billboard. “We will continue to remember and celebrate Alex for his love, passion, and contributions to the Electronic Dance Music community.”
Here’s what you need to know about the EDM festival king:
1. Omes Was Working as a Nightclub Bouncer When He Organized the First Ultra Party in Miami Beach When He Was 25
From the first 1999 Ultra party when roughly 10,000 fans and DJs including Paul van Dyk and Josh Wink hung out at Collins Park in South Beach the event now draws hundreds of thousands each year to Bayfront Park downtown and has spawned events all over the world including Brazil, Croatia, South Africa, Ibiza, Argentina, South Korea and Chile. Omes’ former partner Russell Faibisch was only 21 when they started out together.
2. Omes Complained He Was Pushed Out of Ultra 4 Years Ago
Omes claimed he was frozen out of Ultra in 2010 in a dispute over the location of the festival.Two years later he launched a lawsuit against the company insisting he was still co-owner.He was preparing for the latest hearing connected to the case when he died.On his Facebook page he still described himself as Ultra Music Festival Co-Owner and Co-Founder · 1998 to present · Miami, Florida.
3. Madonna Famously Asked an Ultra Crowd if They Were Doing Molly
In March 2012, Madonna came under fire for asking the crowd during her Ultra festival appearance, “How many people in this crowd have seen molly?” Molly is a well-known slang term used for MDMA, the active chemical in ecstasy, a drug often associated with electronic dance music (EDM) concerts. The crowd cheered at the time, but later DJ Deadmau5 attacked her for being irresponsible.
4. Omes Wanted to Set Up a Festival Starring Kanye West but Had to Call It Off Through Lack of Interest
Omes hosted a rival Miami Beach dance festival — through Go Big Productions — that he ran the same weekend as Ultra and featured EDM legends Swedish House Mafia. He had high hopes for another show called UR1 that would have starred Kanye West, but he couldn’t get the backing.
5.He Leaves Behind a Son
Omes had a son, Joshua, and a brother called Carlos. “Alex was my only sibling and my best friend,” Carlos Omes told the Miami Herald. “He was strong and in perfect health. His sudden and untimely death is seemingly unimaginable. … [We] find solace in knowing that Alex touched so many people and that his memory will not be forgotten.” Omes moved to Miami Beach with his mother and brother when he was 9 from Argentina. Police have not suggested foul play.