Sweat lodge leader expresses remorse over deaths of Minnesota woman, 2 others

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The self-help author convicted in the deaths of three people, including a Minnesota woman, as a result of a sweat lodge ceremony has expressed his remorse in a new interview, The Associated Press reports.

James Arthur Ray was released this summer after serving 20 months in prison for his role in the October 2009 deaths in Sedona, Arizona.

Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minnesota, was one of three people who died of heat stroke and organ failure following the sweat lodge ceremony led by Ray during a five-day retreat.

"It's not easy to live with. That anguish has continued every single day," Ray told CNN's Piers Morgan in an interview Monday night.

Sweat lodge ceremonies take place in a tent and involve dangerously-high temperatures in an effort to release toxins from the body, the AP said.

Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, New York, and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, also died in the tragedy.

Neuman was the third person to die after spending a week in a coma, the Huffington Post reports.

"She always had a smile on her face, and her positive attitude was contagious to those around her," Neuman's family said in a statement after her death. "She was loved and will be missed by many."

CNN said the interview with Ray was his first since being released from prison.

"I think the most difficult thing I can ever imagine is investing your entire life in helping people, and then finding them getting hurt," Ray told Morgan.

Ray also called what happened "the antithesis of anything that I had ever stood for or wanted."

Eighteen other people suffered injuries while participating in the sweat lodge ceremony.

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