New Jersey man dies vacationing in Dominican Republic, family and State Department confirm

Cheryl Makin

A New Jersey man died on vacation under mysterious circumstances in the Dominican Republic, according to reports from NBC News and local news station WABC

Joseph Allen, 55, was found dead Thursday morning in his hotel room at Terra Linda in Sosua, on the Caribbean country's northern coast. Allen's family and the State Department confirmed his death to WABC-TV.

Allen's sister Jaime Reed told ABC that friends said her brother had "complained about being hot at the pool." She added that he wasn't feeling well later, went to bed and was found dead in the morning.

ABC reports that  Allen's body was identified by passport and that there will be an autopsy. 

Allen follows a series of reported illnesses and deaths stemming from Dominican Republic hotels.

Most recently, a Jimmy Buffett fan club members came forward with claims that they had become seriously ill while staying at the Hotel Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana in April. 

"By midweek, people began to get sick and were missing events and we began to wonder what was going on," Dana Flowers, a member of the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Association, told NBC News. "Most people initially thought it was food poisoning." 

Flowers, who told Oklahoma TV station KFOR that he lost 14 pounds as a result of his illness, says he was one of 47 travelers who got sick, out of the 114 members who traveled there. He told NBC that they experienced similar symptoms, including fever, dizziness and "crippling diarrhea."

Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY

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This article originally appeared on Bridgewater Courier News: New Jersey man dies vacationing in Dominican Republic, family and State Department confirm