After a 23-year-old Taylor Swift fan tragically died before her opening night concert in Brazil, other fans are speaking out about their traumatic experiences that unfolded at the show.
A Swift fan detailed the horrific events that occurred Friday night, as she described “sauna-like” conditions inside the scorching Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium.
“It was extremely hot. My hair got so wet from sweat as soon as I came in,” Elizabeth Morin, 26, told the Associated Press. “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.”
During the show, Swift paused her performance and asked from the stage for water to be brought to a group of people who had successfully caught the singer’s attention, according to Morin.
“They were holding up their phones saying ‘We need water,’” she recalled.
Concert-goers said they were not 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 and lasting heat wave. The daytime high in Rio on Friday was 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.4 degrees Fahrenheit), but it felt much hotter.
A young fan named Ana Clara Benevides Machado died before the Swift concert due to sweltering heat conditions. The fan fainted at the stadium and later died, with the cause of death remaining unknown.
The show’s 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 statement from the Brazilian live entertainment company said.
Like thousands of other Swift fans who suffered from the extreme weather, Benevides posted a video of herself on social media before the show wearing a Swift T-shirt and waiting in line to enter the stadium while seeking shade under an umbrella.
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.
Swift responded to the chaotic events that unfolded after the death of her beloved fan Benevides.
“I can’t believe I’m writing these words but it is with a 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,” she said in part on Instagram following her Eras Tour concert in Rio de Janeiro.
The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, additionally mourned the loss of the Swift fan and announced new measures that will be enforced at the Nilton Santos Stadium for her remaining concerts.
“The loss of a young woman’s life yesterday at the show in Engenhão is unacceptable. Obviously, we are still finding out more details about the circumstances of what happened,” the mayor began on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“In any case, I have already ordered the municipality’s Executive Chief of Operations to demand action with the production of the show.”
While authorities are investigating the circumstances of the death, Paes wrote, the municipality will demand Saturday 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 has two more shows scheduled in Rio, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.