Ana Clara Benevides, a 23-year-old fan and psychology student, died before Taylor Swift’s Rio de Janeiro concert at Estádio Nilton Santos last night (November 17) during a record-breaking heat wave, reports Folha de S.Paulo. According to her friend and nurse Thiago Fernandes, Benevides fainted in the front row and was given CPR before being transported to a hospital, where she suffered a second cardiac arrest and died.
Swift posted a statement on her Instagram stories mourning the loss of Benevides after the show: “I can’t believe I’m writing these words but it is with shattered heart that I say we lost a fan earlier tonight before my show. I can’t even tell you how devastated I am by this. There’s very little information I have other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young. 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. I want to say now I feel this loss deeply and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends. This is the last thing I ever thought would happen when we decided to bring this tour to Brazil.”
In multiple videos from last night’s concert, Swift stopped the show to ask the venue and her team to hand out more water, at times taking it upon herself to throw bottles to fans in the crowd. Firefighters reported over a thousand fans fainted due to the heat and those who vomited, a sign of dehydration, were offered assistance.
Fans immediately started a petition to enact a law in Benevides’ honor ensuring free water access at all venues. Today, Brazil’s Federal Deputy Erika Hilton reported Time For Fun (T4F), the Brazilian entertainment company that promoted the concert, to the Federal Public ministry for risking public health by preventing fans from bringing water into the venue. Minister of Justice and Public Flavio Dino similarly scolded T4F and issued a statement that, from today onwards, water bottles will be permitted into shows and production companies must provide free drinking water in accessible areas for any concerts with high heat exposure.
At 4:30 p.m. Eastern, Swift postponed her second show in Rio de Janeiro that was planned for tonight (November 18). Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes announced today that the concert had been rescheduled to Monday (November 20). “The decision has been made to postpone tonight’s show due to the extreme temperatures in Rio,” Swift wrote in an Instagram story. “The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow performers, and crew has to and always will come first.”
Her third concert scheduled for November 19 in Rio de Janeiro as part of The Eras Tour, as well as three more shows in São Paulo, Brazil, are still scheduled to take place. Earlier today, Paes announced that additional ambulances, extra staff members, and new water distribution points will be added to the stadium for Swift’s next concerts.