An American expert on teen sexual health died while climbing a volcano in the South American nation, according to Ecuadoran officials. 

A Wednesday statement from Ecuador’s Environment Ministry says Douglas Kirby apparently suffered a heart attack and died while climbing the Cotopaxi volcano.

The volcano, with an elevation of nearly 19,400 feet, is popular with climbers who visit from around the world.

Kirby was a senior research scientist at ETR Associates, a Scotts Valley, California-based non-profit organization focusing on health education. ETR’s website says Kirby spent four decades conducting social science research and was a global expert on adolescent sexual health.

The statement from Ecuador’s Environment Ministry says Kirby died while climbing the volcano on Saturday. It provided no other details

Cotopaxi, a stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains, located about 17 miles south of Quito, is the country's second highest peak. Clearly visible from Quito, the mountain forms part of the chain mountains on the Pacific plate known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The mountain is not considered a challenging climb in comparison to mountains in the Andes and does not require a great deal of technical climbing knowledge. The peak can average 100 climbers attempting to make the summit on some weekends.

It is, however, one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes with 86 known eruptions.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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