Luke Perry planned before his death to return his body to the earth via an eco-friendly technology that’s just recently become available: the mushroom suit.
Luke Perry wasn’t buried in a cemetery, we recently learned. He wasn’t cremated, either. Instead, Perry made arrangements before his death to return his body to the earth via an eco-friendly technology that’s just recently become available: the mushroom suit.
The mushroom suit, also called the Infinity Burial Suit by maker Coeio, is a burial garment with mushrooms and other microorganisms built in. When the suit is placed on a body and buried, the mushrooms will grow and aid in the body’s decomposition while removing toxins that would otherwise leach into the earth. It’s a gentle burial option that doesn’t come with any of the environmentally problematic ingredients of traditional burial.
(Related: What Is a Green Burial or Natural Funeral?)
It’s an idea that Perry loved, his daughter says. “Any explanation I give will not do justice to the genius that is the mushroom burial suit,” Sophie Perry wrote on Instagram, “but it is essentially an eco friendly burial option via mushrooms. All I can say is that you should all look into them at coeio.com or just by googling ‘mushroom burial suit.’ My dad discovered it, and was more excited by this than I have ever seen him. He was buried in this suit, one of his final wishes.”
The mushroom suit caught the world’s attention when creator Jae Rhim Lee introduced it in a 2011 TED talk. The design of the suit has evolved since her initial concept, and it’s been used for at least one human burial before Perry’s. Pioneer Dennis White was the first to test the concept, reaching out to Coeio after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness in 2015.
With a prominent celebrity like Perry opting for the technology, mushroom burial may gain more traction in coming years. It’s one of a handful of techy new methods of body disposition that aim to lessen the environmental impact of death, from human composting to water cremation. They’re attractive to an eco-conscious younger generation that’s determined to reduce its own impact on the environment.
We learned not long after Perry’s death in early March that he was buried at or near his farm in Tennessee. Soon after, we found out that he had done advance planning for his death, including writing a will and most likely creating other advance directive documents to help his family make decisions about his end-of-life care. Now we also know that he arranged to tread lightly on the earth in his final resting place.
It’s a level of funeral planning that not many people get around to at such a young age – Perry was just 52 when he died. Only about four in 10 Gen Xers, as Perry was, have even written a will. Fewer have told their families how they want to be buried, or whether they’ll opt for cremation.
But Sophie Perry’s joy at her father’s choice shows just how much impact his planning made on his family. “Now, mushrooms hold an entirely new meaning to me,” she wrote on Instagram.