RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Taylor Swift postponed an Eras Tour concert in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday after a 23-year-old fan died during her Friday night show, according to a message on the singer’s Instagram.
“I am writing this from my dressing room at the stadium. Due to the extreme temperatures in Rio, the decision has been made to postpone tonight’s show,” the singer said in a handwritten note posted to her Instagram account. “The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow artists and crew must and will always come first.”
The cause of death of Ana Clara Benevides Machado, the young woman who sought medical attention during Friday’s show at the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium, has not yet been announced. Rio prosecutors opened a criminal investigation and said Benevides’ body was being examined.
Benevides’ death shocked Brazil. She had taken her first flight ever, traveling from the mid-west region of the country to Rio to see her favorite musician. She also created a WhatsApp group to keep her family updated, sending photos and videos every step of the way, family members told online news site G1.
Fans and politicians reacted with outrage to her death and suspected it was related to extreme heat.
After her death, concertgoers complained that they were not allowed to bring water into the stadium despite temperatures soaring above 39 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit). With temperatures continuing to rise on Saturday and two more shows ahead, federal authorities announced that free water will now be provided at concerts and other large events.
One of Benevides’ friends, who also went to the concert, told local outlets that they were both given water while waiting to enter the stadium.
In a handwritten note posted to her social media, Swift said she has a “shattered heart.”
“There is very little information that I have other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young,” the singer wrote of the young woman.
Show organizer Time4Fun said on Instagram that paramedics attended to Benevides after she reported feeling unwell. She was taken to a first aid center and then to a hospital, where she died an hour later, the Brazilian live entertainment company’s statement said.
Fans who attended Friday’s show said they were not allowed to bring water bottles into the stadium, despite Rio and most of Brazil experiencing record-breaking temperatures this week amid a dangerous and prolonged heat wave. The daily maximum temperature in Rio on Friday was 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit), but it felt much hotter.
The apparent temperature – a combination of temperature and humidity – reached 59°C (138°F) in Rio on Friday morning, the highest ever recorded there.
Elizabeth Morin, 26, who recently moved to Rio from Los Angeles, described “sauna-like” conditions at the stadium.
“It was extremely hot. When I walked in, my hair was so wet with sweat,” she said. “There was a point where I had to check my breathing to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out.”
Morin said she drank a lot of water but “saw a whole lot of people who looked desperate” and others who were “screaming for water.” She said she was able to get water from the sidelines of the area where she was standing, but from other parts of the stadium the water was much more difficult to get to, “especially if you were afraid of losing your specific spot.”
During the show, Swift interrupted her performance and asked from the stage to bring water to a group of people, who, according to Morin, successfully caught the singer’s attention.
“They held up their phones and said, ‘We need water,'” she remembers.
Two other concertgoers interviewed by The Associated Press said they saw people becoming uncomfortable because of the heat during the show.
Justice Minister Flávio Dino said on
Swift has two more shows scheduled in Rio, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Prosecutors said in a statement they would “monitor measures aimed at preventing new problems and ensuring the protection of the public’s health.”
Before the show, Benevides posted a video of herself on Instagram wearing a Taylor Swift T-shirt and friendship bracelets and seeking shade under an umbrella while waiting in line at the stadium entrance. She had flown in to see Swift perform, taking a plane for the first time in her life.
In a video she sent to family members and broadcast on Globo News television, she told them: “Mom, look at the plane, it’s moving.” Mom, I’m on the plane. Oh my goodness! I am happy!”
Like them, thousands of fans waited in the sun for hours before being allowed inside.
She told her followers, while fanning her face, that she had arrived at 11am – the show started around 7.30pm – and was “still in chaos”.
Benevides’ friend Daniele Menin, who attended the concert with her, told online news site G1 that her friend fainted at the start of the concert when Swift performed her second song, “Cruel Summer.”
“We always said that if (Taylor Swift) came to Brazil, we would find a way. The ticket was very expensive, but we still found a way,” Menin told G1.
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said on X that the “loss of a young woman’s life… is unacceptable.”
While authorities investigate the circumstances of the death, Paes wrote, the community will on Saturday demand that the show’s production company provide new water distribution points, more brigades and ambulances, and advance entry to the show by an hour.
“I won’t be able to talk about it on stage because I’ll be overwhelmed with grief if I even try to talk about it,” Taylo Swift wrote. “I want to say now that I feel this loss deeply and my heartbreak goes out to her family and friends.”