The university has launched an administrative investigation of the incident involving the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity after Armando Villa died Tuesday, school spokeswoman Carmen Ramos Chandler said.
FOR THE RECORD
An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled Armando Villa's first name as Aramando.
The victim went hiking with friends off Big Tujunga Canyon Road and "passed out along the trail after they apparently ran out of water,"
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
She said homicide detectives were conducting an accidental death investigation and interviewed family members Tuesday.
Maria Castañeda, who identified herself as Villa's aunt, told KABC TV Channel 7 that he had gone hiking as part of a fraternity function and that he was barefoot when he passed out.
"He had no shoes and his feet were blistered," she said. "He was trying to get into this fraternity."
Nishida said the victim may have "suffered from heat exhaustion or heat stroke" but that the cause of death would be determined by investigators.
She said a ranger found the stranded group in the forest and that the victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Chandler said Villa was a Sylmar resident and was scheduled to start his second year at the university in August.
"It is indeed a tragedy when someone that young dies," she told The Times.
She said that Cal State Northridge officials were providing counseling services for students.