Taylor Swift fan dies at concert in sweltering Rio de Janeiro heat

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Rio de Janeiro: A 23-year-old Taylor Swift fan died at one of the singer’s Eras Tour concerts in Rio de Janeiro, according to a statement from the show’s organisers in Brazil.

While a cause of death for Ana Clara Benevides Machado has not been announced, Brazilian newspaper Folha De Sao Paulo reported she fainted at the stadium and was taken to hospital, where she died of a cardiac arrest.

Taylor Swift performs at the Monumental stadium during her Eras Tour concert in Buenos Aires on November 9.Credit:

Fans complained they were not allowed to take water into Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium despite soaring temperatures.

During the show, Swift paused her performance and asked for water to be brought to a group of people who had caught the singer’s attention, according to Elizabeth Morin, 26, who described “sauna-like” conditions inside the stadium.

Ana Clara Benevides Machado died at Swift’s concert in Rio de Janeiro.Credit: Instagram

Swift postponed the next Rio show just hours before she was due to go on stage on Saturday night (Sunday AEDT). “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.”

A group launched an online petition on Saturday morning calling for a “Benevides Law” to “make water in events mandatory”.

The petition garnered more than 150,000 signatures in just a few hours. Federal authorities announced that free water would be made available at all future concerts.

In a handwritten note shared on her social media, Swift said she had a “shattered heart” over the death.

“There’s very little information I have, other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young,” the singer wrote of the young woman.

The show’s organiser, Time4Fun, said on Instagram that paramedics had attended to Benevides after she reported feeling unwell. She was taken to a centre and then to a hospital, where she died an hour later, the statement from the Brazilian live entertainment company said.

Concert-goers said they had not been allowed to bring water bottles into the stadium, even though Rio and most of Brazil have had record-breaking temperatures this week amid a dangerous heatwave. The daytime high in Rio on Friday was 39.1 degrees, but it felt much hotter.

Morin, who recently moved to Rio from Los Angeles, said it “was extremely hot” inside the stadium.

“My hair got so wet from sweat as soon as I came in,” she said. “There was a point at which I had to check my breathing to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out.”

Morin said she drank plenty of water but saw “a good amount of people looking distressed” and others “yelling for water”. She said she was able to get water from the sidelines of the area she was standing in, but that water was a lot harder to access from other parts of the stadium, “especially if you were concerned about losing your specific position”.

The Christ the Redeemer statue is illuminated with a welcome message for Taylor Swift, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 16.Credit:

Justice Minister Flávio Dino said on X that the ministry would implement “emergency rules” in response to the situation. He later announced that “water bottles for personal use, in suitable material, will be allowed” 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 hours in the sun before being allowed inside.

She told her followers while fanning her face that she’d arrived at 11am – the show began around 7:30pm – and was “still in the mess”.

Benevides’ friend Daniele Menin, who attended the concert with her, told online news site G1 that her friend passed out at the beginning of the concert, as Swift performed her second song, Cruel Summer.

“We always said that when [Taylor Swift] came to Brazil we would find a way to go. The ticket was very expensive, but we still found a way”, Menin told G1.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said on X the “loss of a young woman’s life … is unacceptable.”

While authorities are investigating the circumstances of the death, Paes wrote, the municipality will demand that the show’s production company provide new water distribution points, more brigades and ambulances, and advance entrance to the show by one hour.

Swift had a third Rio show due on Sunday (Monday AEDT).

“I’m not going to be able to speak about this from stage because I feel overwhelmed by grief when I even try to talk about it,” Swift wrote. “I want to say now I feel this loss deeply and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends.”


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