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Report: Seattle doctor dies while climbing Mount Everest

Jonathan Sugarman died at Camp 2, which is just under 21,000 feet in elevation.

SEATTLE — A Seattle doctor died on Mount Everest, the U.S. Embassy confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.

Jonathan Sugarman died at Camp 2, which is just under 21,000 feet in elevation. 

The company he was reportedly hiking with - International Mountain Guides - released a statement saying Sugarman's death was "not the result of a climbing accident or route condition that would be of potential impact or safety concern to any other teams on the mountain."

Sugarman's exact cause of death has not been released.

"The rest of the IMG climbing team is all doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances," the statement continues.

Sugarman was a clinical professor and leader at the University of Washington School of Family Medicine and Global Health Programs for more than 30 years. 

"Every time I met him he seemed he was his best self and he encouraged me to be my best self," said Dr. Paul James, with UW's Department of Family Medicine. 

Sugarman was also CEO of a healthcare nonprofit until 2018. He had a resume that friends and colleagues said is unmatched when it comes to improving the healthcare system. 

Evan Stults, the chief of staff for Comagine Health where Sugarman worked for nearly 20 years, said "He pushed us to aim higher, he led us to aim higher, and that challenge was always balanced with his genuine caring." 

Those close to Sugarman said he had a passion for mountain climbing. He was 69 years old.

Mount Everest, in the Himalayan mountains, draws hundreds of climbers each spring during a window of more favorable conditions. A 2020 study led by University of Washington and University of California, Davis researchers found the success rate of summiting has doubled in the past three decades. Though there are more than 500 climbers attempting to summit in the spring, the death rate, according to the study, has remained around 1% since 1990.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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