Taylor Swift postpones scorching Rio de Janeiro show after fan’s death

November 19, 2023 - 10:06 AM
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A couple protect themselves with an umbrella for high temperatures, as they wait before the Taylor Swift concert, following the death of a fan due to the heat during the first day concert, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 18, 2023. (Reuters/Pilar Olivares)

U.S. singer Taylor Swift postponed her show on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro due to scorching heat, the day after the death of a fan who fell ill in the sweltering concert venue.

“The decision has been made to postpone tonight’s show due to the extreme temperatures in Rio,” Swift wrote on Instagram about two hours before she was to go on stage. “The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow performers, and crew has to, and always will, come first.”

Ana Clara Benevides, 23, became unwell at the Nilton Santos stadium during Friday’s show, event organizer T4F SHOW3.SA wrote on Instagram. She died later in hospital. Her cause of death was not yet known and will be investigated, Rio’s state health service said.

Rio on Friday hit a record high of the heat index, which combines temperature and humidity, at 59.3 degrees Celsius (138.7 degrees Fahrenheit). On Saturday, the heat index peaked at 59.7 degrees Celsius (139.5).

Some 60,000 fans had gathered on Friday for Swift’s sell-out first concert at the open-air stadium, situated in a hotter northern neighborhood far from Rio’s breezy beaches.

Swift was also scheduled to perform in Rio on Sunday, followed by three shows in São Paulo from Nov. 24 to 26. T4F said Saturday’s show was postponed to Monday.

Swift fans outside the stadium on Saturday were suffering in the heat as they waited to access the show. As news spread of the show’s postponement, many young girls burst into tears.

During Friday’s concert, several fans fell ill, prompting Swift to interrupt her performance and request that the production team provide them water, videos showed.

Swift wrote on Instagram that she had a “shattered heart” and was “devastated” by the death of Benevides, who was “incredibly beautiful and far too young.”

National Consumer Secretary Wadih Damous posted on X that the government had ordered T4F to guarantee water access at all of Swift’s concerts in Brazil. T4F said that public bodies prohibited entering with water bottles, and that it was not involved in selling food and drink inside the stadium.

In the wake of Benevides’ death, Justice Minister Flavio Dino announced that the government would issue a directive allowing water bottles to be brought into concerts.

“Companies producing shows with high heat exposure must provide free drinking water in easily accessible ‘hydration islands.’ The measure is effective immediately,” he added on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Heat exhaustion, which can include dizziness, headaches, shaking and thirst, is not usually serious, providing the person cools down within 30 minutes.

The more serious version is heat-stroke, when the body’s core temperature goes above 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius). It is a medical emergency and can lead to long-term organ damage and death.

— Reporting by Marcela Ayres; editing by Gabriel Stargardter, Jason Neely, Diane Craft, Cynthia Osterman and Franklin Paul