RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A 23-year-old Taylor Swift fan has died in… Singer Eras Tour concert in Rio de Janeiro Friday evening, according to a statement from the organizers of the show in Brazil. Both Swifties and politicians reacted to the news angrily.
While Ana Clara Benevides Machado’s cause of death has not been announced, fans complained that they were not allowed to take water into the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium despite the high temperatures.
A group launched an online petition Saturday morning calling for a “utility ordinance” to “save water at mandatory events.”
The petition obtained more than 150,000 signatures in a few hours. Federal authorities announced that free water would be provided at all future concerts.
In a handwritten letter she posted on social media, Swift said she was “heartbroken.”
“There is very little information I have other than the fact that she was very beautiful and very young,” the singer wrote about the young woman.
Paramedics attended to Benevides after she reported feeling unwell, Time4Fun, the show’s organizer, said on Instagram. A statement from the Brazilian live entertainment company said she was taken to a first aid center and then to a hospital, where she died an hour later.
Concertgoers said they were not allowed to bring water bottles into the stadium even though Rio and much of Brazil saw record temperatures this week amid… A dangerous and permanent heat wave. The highest daytime temperature in Rio on Friday was 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit), but it was much hotter.
Elizabeth Morin, 26, who recently moved to Rio from Los Angeles, described the “sauna-like” conditions inside the stadium.
“It was so hot. My hair got so wet from sweat as soon as I walked in,” she said. “There was a point where I had to check my breathing to make sure I wouldn’t pass out.”
Maureen said she drank a lot of water but saw “a large number of people looking sad” and others “screaming for water.” She said she was able to get water from the edges of the area she was standing in, but it was very difficult to get to water from other parts of the stadium, “especially if you’re worried about losing your exact location.”
During the show, Swift paused her performance and asked the stage to bring water to a group of people who successfully caught the singer’s attention, according to Morin.
“They would pick up their phones and say, ‘We need water,'” she recalled.
Justice Minister Flavio Dino said on Channel X that the ministry would implement “emergency rules” in response to the situation. He later announced that “water bottles for personal use, made of suitable materials will be permitted” at concerts and other events, and that show producers must provide free and easily accessible drinking water.
Before the show, Benevides posted a video of herself on Instagram wearing a Taylor Swift T-shirt and waiting in line to enter the stadium while seeking shade under an umbrella. Like her, thousands of fans waited for hours in the sun before being allowed inside.
Shaking her face, she told her followers that she arrived at 11am – the show started around 7.30pm – and was “still a mess”.
Benevides’ friend, Danielle Menin, who attended the concert with her, told the online news site G1 that her friend lost consciousness at the beginning of the concert, while Swift was performing her second song, “Cruel Summer.”
“We always said that when she (Taylor Swift) comes to Brazil we will find a way forward. The ticket was very expensive, but we still found a way,” Menin told G1.
“The loss of a young woman’s life…is unacceptable,” Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said on Channel X.
While authorities investigate the circumstances of the death, the municipality on Saturday will demand that the show’s production company provide new water distribution points, more brigades and ambulances, and advance entry to the show for one hour, Pais wrote.
Swift has two more shows scheduled in Rio, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
“I won’t be able to talk about this from the stage because I get sad when I try to talk about it,” she wrote. “I want to say now that I feel this loss deeply and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends.”