UCSB graduate student Chris August passed away Sunday at 12:23 a.m. in the Santa Barbara area. He was in his early forties.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office could not be contacted for information regarding the cause of death.

“I was shocked and extremely saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Chris, and his family has our deepest condolences,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “Chris will be deeply missed not only by his fellow students and colleagues in the Department of Art Studio, but by all those whose lives he touched as a student and teacher here at UCSB.”

August was a graduate student in the Art Studio Dept. and was scheduled to finish his Master of Fine Arts this quarter.

August was interested in digital media and taught “Digital Foundations,” an art studio class on the topic, for the first time in winter 2003. Professor Graham Budgett will take over his teaching responsibilities for the course in the future.

August’s most recent project involved hiking in the northern national parks of California, retracing the footsteps of the last Yaqui Indian, Ishi. August presented footage of his journey in “Looking for Ishi: Insurgent Movements Through the Yaqui Landscape,” a trio of film images played simultaneously on three video screens accompanied by narration.

August was concerned with Native American history, his mentor and art studio and film studies Professor Dick Hebdige said. “His main drive was to use art to address political and social issues.”

Memorial plans have not yet been announced.

“Chris was very well liked in the department,” Hebdige said. “He was a very driven individual, but spirited. We’re really going to miss him.”