Pete Suratos

North Bay Fitness Community in Shock After SoulCycle Rider Dies of Meningitis

A frequent SoulCycle rider in Larkspur has died after catching bacterial meningitis, according to public health officials.

Marin County health officials on Tuesday were notified about the death of 48-year-old Sevin Philips.

Fitness gurus who regularly take classes at SoulCycle, which is a trendy cycling studio, are being told not to panic. The likelihood of someone catching meningitis is very low, unless a person spends a significant amount of time around the infected individual, according to Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis.

"Close contact is usually defined as several hours of very close contact," Willis said. "That's one of the reasons why we often see just one case without seeing subsequent transmission."

Health officials said they learned Tuesday Sevin Philips died after contracting bacerial meningitis.

Cyclists at the Larkspur SoulCycle are not worried, but are sad they lost a member of their community. They remember Philips as a husband, father and psychotherapist.

"It's really devastating for the community," Larkspur-resident Michelle Battelle said. "People cried when it was announced he had passed away."

Meningitis, which is an infection of the lining of the brain, presents a range of symptoms including stiff neck, fever, chills, nausea and more. Marin County health officials notified more that 200 people to see a doctor if they experience those symptoms, but no other meningitis cases in the area have been reported as of Friday.

The SoulCycle in Larkspur has disinfected the studio.

"While the rider did not contract the infection at our studio, we have nonetheless been in constant communication with the Department of Health which has emphasized that there is no evidence of any health risk to our riders," SoulCycle said in a statement.

Cyclists who frequent SoulCycle said they are not concerned of any possible health risks moving forward.

"I'm not worried at all going forward riding at our studio," Tracy McCulloch said. "I don't think there's any connection whatsoever."

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